Rwanda eyes top ITU post

*Benefits big from 2007 Connect Africa Summit The Minister in Charge of Science and Technology in the Office of the President, Prof. Romain Murenzi, yesterday, told Parliament that Rwanda is considering vying for one of the top posts at the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).
REVEALES ITU BID: Romain Murenzi.
REVEALES ITU BID: Romain Murenzi.

*Benefits big from 2007 Connect Africa Summit

The Minister in Charge of Science and Technology in the Office of the President, Prof. Romain Murenzi, yesterday, told Parliament that Rwanda is considering vying for one of the top posts at the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).

He made the revelation while presenting a bill regarding the authorization of the ratification of the final Acts of the Plenipotentiary Conference of the ITU adopted in Antalya, Turkey in 2006.

“Rwanda plans to bid for a seat in the ITU Administrative Council and the condition is to fulfill all the requirements including the ratification of the Plenipotentiary Conference decisions which we have been doing,” Murenzi said.

The ITU administrative council was established in 1947 following a decision taken by the Plenipotentiary Conference and it comprises a maximum of 25% of the total number of Member States.

These are elected by the Plenipotentiary Conference with due regard to the need for equitable distribution of Council seats among the five world regions; (Americas, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia and Australasia).

The current Council comprises 46 Member States. According to Murenzi, country representatives at the Council can sign international treaties on behalf of the government.

While, MP Gideon Kayinamura remarked: “since we are going for this post, we should have the right candidate to represent us there.”

The role of the Council is to consider, in the interval between plenipotentiary conferences, broad telecommunication policy issues, to ensure that the Union’s activities, policies and strategies fully respond to today’s dynamic, rapidly changing telecommunication environment. It also prepares the ITU strategic plan.

In addition, the Council is responsible for ensuring the smooth day-to-day running of the Union, coordinating work programmes, approving budgets and controlling finances and expenditure.

Meanwhile, MPs tasked the minister to brief them on the impact of the ITU Connect Africa Summit that was held here in Rwanda in 2007.

In response, the Minister said that after the Summit, President Paul Kagame, was nominated a Patron at the ITU and that last year he was invited to address the ITU high-level meeting focusing on cyber security.

“From the summit, Rwanda managed to get over US$60m as pledges from donors to help develop the ICT sector. Significant to note is that the One Laptop per Child Project is a result of the Summit,” Murenzi added.

Like all other member states of the ITU, Rwanda contributes Rwf 11m annually to the union.

The elections of ITU administrative council are held after four years and the next elections are scheduled for 2010.

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