KIGALI - The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Secretary General Dr Hamadoun Toure has called upon the African Development Bank (ADB) to scale up funds to develop ICT initiatives in Africa.
Toure argued that there is much potential in Africa which needs support from development partners, governments and the private sector.
“I am waiting to see the amount of money you are planning to put in ICT initiatives,” he the ADB Country Representative Diko Mukete yesterday at Jali ICT Exhibition.
The ADB says it is considers ICT as the most compelling challenge facing African countries in developing e-governance.
Recently, the bank recently joined other major development-oriented institutions to support the sector.
Toure, who officially opened the exhibition, said he was impressed by Rwanda’s progress in ICT.
“It is very interesting to see that there are companies mounting and distributing computers to the citizens.”
Six international and thirty national companies exhibited.
Toure said: “This is a great contribution to connecting Africa and many companies in Rwanda have taken initiatives in a very aggressive manner and we expect other African countries who are doing the same will share their experience.”
One of the exhibitors, Richard Ong, the Chief Operation Officer of the Chinese Company, WorldTel appreciated Rwanda’s progress in ICT. “Rwanda has a lot of thinking to develop in hi-tech. It is very interesting that Rwanda wants, in two years, to become the Singapore of Africa.”
The ITU advocates for proper regulatory framework ensuring that governments are well advised to take rural communication seriously.
Toure is attending the ITU ‘Connect Africa’ Summit in Kigali that intends to examine key success factors for ICT investment and development. The summit will be attended by several Heads of State, five of whom arrived yesterday.
The UN Undersecretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Sha Zukang, observed that Africa has the ability to develop like other continents, saying: “If others can do, why not Africa?”
Toure said the summit was brought to Rwanda because of the country’s tremendous progress in the IT field. “Things area moving, (there is) good leadership that is committed in making lives of the citizens beautiful. We are bringing African countries and the rest of the world to see what is going on.”
The summit will also undertake a mechanism of implementing the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in the ICT field.
“We want to be ahead of time,” he said adding that: “We want to assure that by 2012 the decision of the MDGs in the ICT field is achieved.” The UN plans the whole world to have access to ICT by 2015.