Busan, 28 October 2014
President Kagame today addressed the 19th Plenipotentiary Conference held in Busan, South Korea, where he commended outgoing ITU Secretary General, Dr. Hamadoun Toure for his good work during his tenure as Secretary General of ITU, and congratulated the Secretary General elect, Houlin Zhao.
Stating Rwanda’s enthusiasm to work with the new ITU team, President Kagame pointed out the transformational role ICTs have played in Rwanda and beyond:
“The world, particularly we in developing countries, have seen the immense opportunities of a connected and borderless world. Our collective aspiration is to further extend these possibilities to all of mankind.”
President Kagame mentioned governance, education, agriculture, health, business and infrastructure as some of the key sectors that have been transformed by greater access to ICT.
Describing the Smart Africa Initiative agreed upon in Rwanda during the Transformation Africa Summit, President Kagame stated that a commitment to ICT means a commitment to a better future for the next generations:
“ICT has always been a future-looking technology. The Smart Africa Initiative is founded on a future where the world’s people are connected among themselves, and with their environment. It is a future in which ICTs continue to help humanity make advances in education, healthcare and ensure food security. It is a future where ICTs fuel economic growth through deeper financial inclusion, innovation, job creation for the youth, as well as empowerment for women. This is a future to which we are committed and one that we owe to future generations: one that is sustainable, inclusive and secure.”
President Kagame and First Lady Jeannette Kagame also attended the GEM-TECH Awards gala co-organized by UN Women. GEM-TECH Awards are aimed at recognizing the outstanding achievements of organizations and individuals in the area of gender equality and mainstreaming through information and communication technology (ICT).
Presenting awards to the seven winners, President Kagame described the variety of their achievements as both an inspiration and an indication of what remains to be done:
“They are producing digital content showing the critical, yet often hidden role that women have played in history. They are making girls more confident about science and technology. They are working to raise health outcomes. They are giving rural women the opportunity to earn a living in the digital economy. They are breaking the culture of silence that surrounds violence against women.”
With these achievements, President Kagame emphasized the importance of understanding the bridging the gender gap in technology as beneficial to both men and women, underscoring that gender equality is an indivisible component of the wider struggle for human dignity.