Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) should be at the centre of the Sustainable Development Goals, beyond 2015, the Minister for Youth and ICT, Jean Philbert Nsengimana said.
He was on Wednesday addressing the 19th International Telecommunication Union (ITU) plenipotentiary conference in Busan, South Korea.
The conference attracted over 3,000 delegates from 175 ITU member states, sector members and observer organisations, including over 104 ministers, 35 deputy ministers, and 67 ambassadors.
Nsengimana stressed that; “In Rwanda ICTs are saving lives, helping educate the next generation with initiatives such as the One Laptop Per Child.”
He noted that ICTs are a major tool in the fight against poverty.
He said ICT is the infrastructure of the present and future knowledge-based economy much in the same way roads and railways were for the agrarian and industrial revolutions.
“ICT should be at the centre of the Sustainable Development Goals, beyond 2015. Over the last 10 years, Rwanda has worked with the ITU to promote broadband as an enabler of socio-economic transformation in Africa and beyond,” he said.
Smart Africa Manifesto
In 2007, Rwanda co-hosted with ITU the Connect Africa Summit which resulted into more than $70 billion in broadband infrastructure in Africa over the five years that followed.
In 2013, Rwanda and ITU hosted Transform Summit with the objective of attracting $300bn investments in the African ICT sector over the next five years. In line with this commitment, the Summit adopted the Smart Africa Manifesto which was further endorsed by the 22nd Ordinary Session of the African Union General Assembly.
Minister Nsengimana said that during the Summit, African leaders resolved to sustain efforts to transforming Africa from being largely a passive consumer, to a producer of ICTs by supporting the growth and maturity of local innovation ecosystems.