President Paul Kagame has called for continued partnerships in the promotion of ICT and broadband rollout, saying that they are linking communities and bettering economies.
The President made the remarks, yesterday, at the Broadband Commission meeting he was co-chairing in Hong Kong, China.
Kagame is the co-chair of the Broadband Commission alongside Mexican business mogul Carlos Slim. Slim, who was unable to attend the meeting, was represented by Carlos Jarque, the executive director of America Movil.
Kagame advocated for increased cooperation of stakeholders in the sector, including governments, industries as well as civil society organisations saying that way, progress was guaranteed.
“We will always succeed especially when we work together; government, industry and civil society leaders,” he said.
As the partners pursue progress, Kagame said that it was also important for them to measure practical progress made.
Among the strides the President noted was the alignment of broadband and its contributions towards global goals such as the Sustainable Development Goals.
“Since the Millennium Development Goals and now Sustainable Development Goals, there has been a good effort in the area alignment of broadband and its contributions to these processes,” he said.
The meeting looked into how broadband technologies are helping to achieve Sustainable Development Goals.
The Minister for Youth and ICT, Jean-Philbert Nsengimana, said this led to deliberations on how broadband and new technologies can serve towards objectives in healthcare, education, among other goals.
“There were discussions around the issues of education, healthcare and how to extend broadband to the about 4 billion people who remain unconnected today,” he said.
Nsengimana said the Commission observed the need to focus on things that can generate impact the most as well as focus the work of the Commission in areas that can generate catalytic impact in regulation and education.
At the meeting, the Commission also deliberated on short-term targets for the broadband commission taking into account the rapid technological changes.
The Secretary-General of the International Telecommunications Union, Houlin Zhao, said the Commission remains committed to a conviction that broadband and ICTs are critical towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
“ICTs underpin vital achievements and modern services in many sectors, and governments and industry must increasingly work together to create the conditions so badly needed to facilitate the growth of broadband for sustainable development,” he said.
Statistical estimates by the Commission show that, globally, about 59 million children are out of school and 38 million people die annually from non-communicable diseases, yet broadband can reduce these numbers by making education and lifelong learning, as well as public healthcare more available, accessible and equitable.
Meanwhile, on the sidelines of the Commission meeting, Rwanda and Huawei Technologies signed a memorandum of understating in the presence of President Kagame and Huawei chairperson Sun Yafang.
Nsengimana said the agreement will facilitate the development of the ICT ecosystem through investments in Smart Education, developing a Huawei research lab, a regional data centre and expansion of the national fibre network.