New ITU Secretary General visits Rwanda

The Secretary-General of International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Zhao Houlin, last evening arrived in the country for a three-day official visit.
Houlin (right) chats with Nsengimana on his arrival at Kigali International Airport yesterday. (Timothy Kisambira)
Houlin (right) chats with Nsengimana on his arrival at Kigali International Airport yesterday. (Timothy Kisambira)

The Secretary-General of International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Zhao Houlin, last evening arrived in the country for a three-day official visit.

During his visit, Houlin will tour several facilities at the Telecom House in Kacyiru including 4G Innovation Centre, Carnegie Mellon University–Rwanda campus and kLab hub.

He will also hold several meetings with senior government officials and visit the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre.

ITU is an agency of the United Nations responsible for coordinating effective development and use of telecommunications globally.

Upon arrival at Kigali International Airport, Houlin said; “I have heard a lot of good things happening here. I will be here for a couple of days and I am looking forward to the experience.”

The Minister for Youth and ICT, Jean Philbert Nsengimana, said Houlin’s visit was his first to the African continent.

He said the visit aims at strengthening ties between Rwanda and ITU.

Rwanda was recently re-elected a member state of the Council of ITU for 2014-2018.

The Council is tasked with policymaking to ensure that the ITU keeps up with the world’s rapidly changing telecommunication environment and deciding on administrative issues of the organisation.

President Paul Kagame is the Co-Chair alongside Carlos Slim of Mexico, the brains behind the Broadband Commission for Digital Development, an initiative aimed at accelerating universal broadband access.

The Commission comprises leading figures in the technology industry, governments and the international community.

In 2007 and 2013, Rwanda co-hosted with ITU, the Connect Africa Summit with the last conference resulting into commitments to investing more than $70 billion in broadband infrastructure in Africa over five years.

Houlin was elected ITU Secretary General in October last year, becoming the 19th Secretary-General of the ITU.

His four-year mandate started on 1 January 2015.

From 2007 to 2014, he served as ITU Deputy Secretary-General, supporting the work of the Secretary-General, principally in terms of day-to-day management, including human resources, financial administration, improving efficiency, and working to help broaden ITU’s membership, particularly in terms of academic institutions.

Since its membership to the ITU in 1962, Rwanda has been an active promoter of ITU initiatives through adoption, usage and deployment of technologies for bridging the digital divide.

The Government has invested heavily in ICT as an enabler of socio-economic development.

The country has also maintained its position as one of the fastest growing African countries in ICT–from e-commerce and e-services, mobile technologies, applications development and automation, to becoming a regional centre for training of top quality ICT professionals

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

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