Ohrid, 2 April 2012

President Kagame on Monday called for strengthened collaboration in deploying broadband infrastructure to enable countries to address developmental challenges in various sectors including health, education, agriculture, energy and the environment.

Speaking as co-chair at the opening of the Fifth Meeting of the Broadband Commission for Digital Development in Ohrid, Macedonia, President Kagame said there was need to “bring on board all global players”  to ensure that broadband technology opportunities are not missed due to other competing priorities.

“The upcoming UN Summit on Sustainable Development presents an opportunity for the commission to make this case and mobilize the world’s leaders to make broadband more widely accessible and affordable, hence contributing more meaningfully to the Summit’s objectives.”

President Kagame reaffirmed the commission commitment to making broadband a priority on global the global developmental agenda;

“There is significant demand for these technologies, and through proper partnerships, the commission can help eliminate most of these entry barriers, thereby ushering in a new era of mobile broadband data services that can transform our economies and fundamentally change lives of our people. Left to market forces alone, such benefits would not be available in time to meet urgent development challenges, let alone build a solid foundation for sustainable development.”

In his remarks, co-chair Carlos Slim, pointed out that the Commission needed to do more in reinforcing the role small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the digital economy and promoting the development of local content and applications;

“Small and medium enterprises play a key role globally as drivers of economic growth and job creation. Broadband can help these enterprises to improve their productivity, offer value-added services and access new markets.”

The philanthropist called for promotion of local content and applications, saying it would result in the emergence of young, innovative and competitive workforce that would strengthen human digital capital, bring technology closer to people and help generate jobs, growth, productivity and, ultimately, long-term economic competitiveness.
At the meeting, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) announced eight new commissioners on the Broadband Commission.

Dr Hamadoun Touré, ITU Secretary-General and Co-Vice Chair of the Commission, welcomed the new commissioners and said that they would their talents and their considerable expertise to add fresh impetus to the commission’s mission of promoting the importance of broadband.