Kagame: Internet access should be matched by safe, fair content

President Kagame and his Broadband Commission co-chair Carlos Slim Helú, a Mexican billionaire (right), and UNESCO Director General Audrey Azoulay pose for a group picture with commissioners and other delegates at the Broadband Commission meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York yesterday. Village Urugwiro.

With access to the internet going up across the world, it is necessary to come up with strategies to ensure safe and fair digital content, President Paul Kagame has said.

President Kagame, who is the co-chair of Broadband Commission, was yesterday speaking at the Broadband Commission meeting in New York alongside fellow co-chair, Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim.

Attending the meeting were also the International Telecommunications Union Secretary General Houlin Zhao and UNESCO Director General Audrey Azoulay.

The Broadband Commission on Sustainable Development was held on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) currently convening in New York.

The President said that, as the world registers milestones with regard to significant internet access, it is equally important to think through how everyone can access digital content safely and fairly.

“We are preparing to mark a new milestone where half of the world’s people are accessing the internet. While this growth is not spread evenly across the world’s regions it is nonetheless an encouraging development. With more people online we need to think through how everyone can access the digital content safely and fairly,” he said.

Kagame, who is also the African Union Chairperson, said that to take full advantage of latest technological innovations, countries ought to embrace the sector rapidly.

“To take full advantage of the latest technological innovations, we have to adapt rapidly, including more innovative approaches to policy and regulation,” he said.

He added that increasing digital access will also require close collaboration among various stakeholders, including governments, private sector as well as the research community.

This was the second Broadband Commission meet to be held this year. In May this year, Kagame hosted the 2018 Spring Meeting of the Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development on the sidelines of the Transform Africa Summit 2018 in Kigali.

The meeting focused on how to accelerate progress for increased broadband access across the world.

Later in the day, President Kagame attended a reception hosted by the National Basketball Association (NBA) with the NBA leadership, team owners and players. Participants included Adam Silver, NBA Commissioner; Larry Tanenbaum, NBA Chairman of the Board of Governors; owner of the Toronto Raptors, Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto FC; Wes Edens, Owner of the Milwaukee Bucks; Masai Ujiri,  President of Toronto Raptors, and Dikembe Mutombo, NBA Hall of Famer.

The event sought to highlight the potential of sports, particularly basketball to empower lives and drive economic development across Africa.

President Kagame is expected to address the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday.