A good morning to you. I am pleased to join you for SDG Digital.
To begin, I commend the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), under the leadership of Doreen, for your work to accelerate digital transformation.
I also thank UNDP, for accompanying Rwanda throughout our development journey, and for putting digital empowerment at the heart of the strategy to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
All over the world, we are witnessing the power of technology to transform lives.
The Broadband Commission, which I am honoured to co-chair, was created to ensure equitable access to high-speed internet, so that everyone benefits.
Unfortunately, a third of the world’s population still remain offline.
To reach universal connectivity, we must reduce costs, and invest in digital skills and access to smart devices.
Everyone has their part to play to unlock these results, both in the public and private sectors, and still, these challenges are too big for anyone to solve alone.
In this context, the Secretary-General’s Roadmap for Digital Cooperation provides us with a strong framework to work together to implement the Sustainable Development Goals.
Rwanda also supports ITU’s call to the public and private sectors, to increase their pledges for the Partner2Connect Digital Coalition, to 100 billion dollars by 2026.
Of the 30 billion dollars already raised, almost half will be used to enhance digital connectivity in Least-Developed Countries.
This shows that we are taking positive steps in the right direction to build digital capacity where it can have the greatest impact.
In Rwanda, through the GIGA initiative, spearheaded by ITU and UNICEF, we are seeing first-hand the value of partnership.
The pilot project in 63 schools has made connectivity faster and cheaper.
In Africa, we are blessed to have a young and vibrant population, which is passionate about entrepreneurship and self-improvement.
We cannot afford to have the digital divide stifle their creativity and productivity.
Connecting them online, in a safe and meaningful manner, is about giving them the opportunity to compete in the global market, and achieve their full potential.
Allow me to conclude with a word on artificial intelligence.
To cross the finish line, and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, we need to leverage the power of this technology.
We have to keep in mind that it must work for us, not against us.
In this regard, I commend ITU, for convening the A.I. for Good Global Summit, earlier this year.
We will need a collective and coordinated approach to A.I. governance frameworks, which protect everyone, everywhere. This is well within our means.
Once again, I am pleased to join you, and I thank you for the invitation to speak with you today.
I wish you all a productive meeting, and thank you for your kind attention.