President Paul Kagame has said that broadband access is among the prerequisites for the economic transformation and development of service delivery across the continent.
Kagame was speaking at the 2018 Spring Meeting of the Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development meeting ahead of the Transform Africa Summit 2018.
President Kagame co-chairs the Broadband Commission alongside Mexican businessman, Carlos Slim, who also attended the meeting.
Other participants included deputy co-chair Houlin Zhao, Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union.
Kagame said that the desired economic development requires broadband infrastructure, ensuring access and affordably.
“Africa’s economic transformation requires broadband infrastructure with an emphasis on both access and affordability,” he said.
President Kagame: I am pleased to be joined by my Co-Chair Carlos Slim and our Co-Vice Chair Houlin Zhao. Thank you very much. Indeed, I thank all of you who found the time. Your personal commitment to this important cause is greatly appreciated. pic.twitter.com/262qLfrURf
— Presidency | Rwanda (@UrugwiroVillage) May 7, 2018
This he said also has an impact on service delivery in sectors such as commerce, education and healthcare run on broadband.
Given the continent’s size and geography, Kagame said that countries ought to use multiple approaches in its rollout.
“Africa’s size, geography and settlement patterns mean that we must rely on a variety of different technologies to deliver broadband including satellite, fibre optic and mobile,” said the president, who is also the African Union Chairperson.
The head of state noted that it was also necessary to be innovative in policy and business models to increase provision of broadband.
“As we discuss 5G and the future of broadband let’s keep that in mind as well, it is up to us to lead the way in driving innovation both in policy and business models in order to speed up the provision of broadband where it has been slowest to reach,” he added.
This he noted also requires fostering collaboration with other networks and institutions such as the African Union as well as Smart Africa in order to advance towards these goals.
The 2018 Spring Meeting of the Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development comes hot on the heels of the release of the Commission’s new 2025 targets, which seek to fast-track the digital connectivity of millions of people worldwide that remain unconnected.