New York, 23 September 2012

President Kagame today co-chaired the second meeting of the ITU Broadband Commission in New York. The brain child of Dr. Hamadoun Touré, Secretary-General of the ITU, and Ms Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, the meeting brings together key players in the telecommunication industry in a bid to extend the benefits of high speed internet to all peoples of world. To focus on the work of this energetic and influential set of personalities, the Commission has established eight working groups to concentrate on key thematic areas; such as health care to climate change.

In his remarks, President Kagame called on members of the Broadband Commission to double efforts in mobilizing world leaders to ensure that Broadband gains its rightful place on the MDG’s policy agenda:

“Rwanda has embraced ICT as an engine of transformation. For over a decade now we have been leveraging technology for the benefit of our citizens and have seen firsthand how broadband impacts everyday lives of our people. As we look to the future we realize that we need to do more and faster, the world is waiting and our people are counting on us whether it is central databases of crop yields and market information for farmers, integrated school curricular for pupils, medical records for doctors, entrepreneurial opportunities for the youth. The possibilities are limitless. Broadband is the future of shared opportunities and a medium for business transactions and cultural exchange.”

View pictures of the story:

President Kagame expressed optimism on the bridging of the existing digital divide as the commission continues to engage with Broadband technologies, creating a future that bypasses the divides:

“I congratulate the commission on the decision made here today to establish a new work group focusing on women and girls in ICT and thank Dr Rizah Jafarri for the generous contribution that will help support this work group. This focus resonates very well with us in Rwanda and I believe widely across the continent and beyond. We have made practical steps to empower women and girls and even made constitutional provisions to ensure women are accessing opportunities actively including access to the opportunities provided by Broadband.”

During the meeting, a report on the state of broadband 2012 was presented by the Secretary General of the ITU, Dr. Hamadoun Toure. The report indicates that the importance of national policy leadership is now clearly understood by policy-makers and governments around the world. As a result, 119 countries have now developed a national plan, policy or strategy to promote broadband.

The New York meeting follows the Broadband Leadership Summit that was held in Geneva in October 2011, which set broadband targets for increased access and affordability of broadband services by 2015. The Broadband Commission also met in Kigali in September 2011.