Orhid, 2 April 2012

It is a great pleasure for me to be with you here in Macedonia, as we continue to chart the way forward in advancing broadband access to the world’s community – and I would like to thank our hosts for their kind hospitality since our arrival.

I take this opportunity to welcome the new commissioners who are joining us today and who will be introduced to us later. They bring with them a wealth of experience, expertise, knowledge, and commitment that should propel the commission’s work even further.

Since its inception, the broadband commission has worked hard to make broadband access a priority on the global development agenda.

We are all convinced of the enormous benefits of broadband in addressing developmental of challenges and forming a solid foundation for sustainable economic development. We now need to work even harder to bring on board all global players to ensure that such benefits are not simply left to chance or sidelined due to often 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.
We need new forms of collaboration to ensure that all countries can deploy the necessary technology infrastructure to enable our countries to address fundamental challenges in healthcare, education, agriculture, energy and our continuously degraded environment.

Mr. Prime Minister;
Distinguished participants:

In my country Rwanda, and in other nations, we have seen ICT enabling fast growth of the services sector, enabling productivity of other sectors and addressing key challenges in social sectors like healthcare, education, agriculture and others. We need to build strong partnerships with the industry to ensure that needed technologies are available to the millions of unconnected people.

Technologies like mobile broadband, present an opportunity to provide affordable access to serve these people.

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. With all continents now interconnected through undersea cables, major connectivity hurdles have been removed and the developing nations are now in a better position to benefit more from ICT.

I am convinced that now more than ever, broadband technology offers developing nations unique opportunities to resolve their developmental challenges and build a strong foundation for sustainable development. Only then can we see meaningful participation of these nations in global economy.

I would like to conclude by commending the work done by the commission so far in setting broadband targets to attain by 2015, and the commitment to use broadband as a basis and solid foundation for sustainable economic development of nations. I want to most sincerely and singularly thank the co-chair, Mr. Carlos Slim, for being ever present, and for his able leadership in steering the commission forward.
Only through accessible and affordable technologies, can we see all the people of the world contributing effectively to a more prosperous world that we all aspire for.

I thank you all for your kind attention and wish us all a good meeting.