President Paul Kagame yesterday chaired the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Broadband Commission meeting at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
Attending his first meeting since his election, the new ITU Secretary General Houlin Zhao, began by thanking both President Kagame and Carlos Slim, president of the Carlos Slim Foundation, for agreeing to renew their role as Co-Chairs of the ITU Broadband Commission, according to a statement from the President’s Office.
Kagame urged commissioners to continue efforts to ensure access to broadband to a larger number of citizens, it said
“It’s about how we can invest and make it easy for the majority of the citizens of this world to access broadband. We have seen in many parts of the world how this has changed lives,” he was quoted as saying.
“The task of the commission is to continue to grapple with some of these problems and enable us make the world a better place.”
With members of the ITU Broadband Commission, including senior policy makers, industry leaders and government representatives present, discussions centered on forging a collaborative approach toward affordable and universal access to broadband.
Kagame emphasised the importance of the public and private sectors recognising their common interest. “People need to say ‘for me to get what I need, others need to get what they need’. We will get solutions by working together. What we need is narrowing the existing gap through partnerships.”
The broadband commission brings together leaders from the private sector, policy makers, government representatives, international agencies and academia to provide a variety of perspectives with the aim of developing a joint approach to promote broadband for public benefit.
Established in 2010, the commission aims to ensure access to broadband to the world as an integral part of achieving development.
The President ended the day with bilateral meetings with Professor Klaus Schwab, the founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum; Tony Blair, former British prime minister; and Hans Vestbeg, CEO of Ericsson.
The Future of the Internet features as a prominent theme at this year’s World Economic Forum.
Yesterday, Prof. Schwab launched “The Future of the Internet Initiative.” The initiative brings together leaders from multiple sectors and will serve as a platform for global stakeholders to explore how the Internet can best serve humankind. President Kagame joined the initiative as a trustee.
Yesterday’s World Economic Forum sessions concluded with a panel on the Future of the Digital Economy with Erick Schmidt, Executive Chairman of Google; Vittorio Colao, CEO of Vodafone; Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook; Jim Hagemann Snabe, Chairman of the Center for Global Industries; and Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft. The panel highlighted the importance of access to broadband.
“Access to broadband is the solution. There are no countries with no clever people. With access to broadband, citizens can solve a lot,” Schmidt said.
The annual general meeting closes today after three days of deliberations on global challenges affecting today’s world in over 280 sessions under the theme “The New Global Context.”
The forum, popularly referred to as Davos 2015, attended over 40 Heads of State and Government, hundreds of business leaders and representatives of governments and organisations.