Dublin, 23 March 2014

Today in Dublin, President Kagame co-chaired the 9th meeting of the UN Broadband Commission for Digital Development.

Opening the meeting, President Kagame emphasized the importance of broadband in achieving sustainable development:

“For us in Rwanda, broadband and ICTs play an important role in the progress we have made towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. Broadband and ICTs contribute to our economic growth and are helping to deliver more efficiently in education, health, finance and banking and other sectors.”

President Kagame also reminded the representative of the various sectors present of the importance of honest dialogue and cooperation between the public and private sector:

“The broadband model we have adopted is based on effective public private partnership, guided by what works on the ground.We believe that there must be candid and consistent dialogue between industry and government – the kind that will generate trust and productivity.”

President Kagame called on the members of the Broadband Commission to move beyond infrastructure and focus on ensuring access and affordability to services:

“Our initial focus was on connectivity: to put the infrastructure and tools in place to connect citizens to the digital era, accelerating roll-out and affordability of broadband services on an open access basis, especially for mobile broadband. Onwards, our efforts should focus on unleashing the smart use of broadband to help people use services in ways that will significantly improve their lives.”

Today’s meeting concluded with various recommendations including the need for governments and international financing bodies to work to remove barriers to investment and the establishment of a champion’s league’ index that will track best practice in broadband investment and deployment.

Concluding the meeting, President Kagame pledged to match ITU’s donation for the building of a robotic device that can transform the life of Joanne O’Riordan and many others. Born without limbs, Joanne O’Riordan issued a challenge at the UN telecommunications to build a robot that could improve her life.