ITU recognises African Presidents for ICT development
The ITU has launched an annual award recognising leadership in sustainable development through ICTs to drive the global 2030 development agenda. ITU emphasised the vital role that information and communication technology (ICT) will play in meeting the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) at a special award ceremony held at UN Headquarters, New York, which officially recognised nine Heads of State/Heads of Government for their efforts to improve access to ICT networks and services.
Three African Presidents were among the recipients of the prestigious award:
H.E. Mr Ali Bongo Ondimba, President of the Gabonese Republic
H.E. Mr Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya
H.E. Mr Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda
The other recipients included:
H.E. Mr Tabaré Vázquez, President of the Eastern Republic of Uruguay
H.E. Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh
H.E. Mr Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama, Prime Minister of the Republic of Fiji
H.E. Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak, Prime Minister of Malaysia
H.E. General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand
H.E. Mr Meltek Sato Kilman Livtuvanu, Prime Minister of the Republic of Vanuatu.
The award was conferred by ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao at a Gala Dinner hosted by the Global Sustainability Foundation (GSF), which celebrated ITU’s role in ‘Connecting the World’. Speakers at the event heralded the catalytic role that ICTs play in the achievement of the SDGs.
“The leaders recognized at this event set the benchmark for improving access, affordability and application of ICTs to drive socio-economic development,” said ITU’s Zhao. “With the international community on the brink of agreeing a bold 2030 agenda, it is clear ICTs have a fundamental role to play in the achievement of the new Sustainable Development Goals. ITU will be doing everything in its power to support our members – both government and private industry – in driving sustainable development through ICTs, and will work tirelessly to ensure the benefits of ICTs are available and accessible to all the world’s people.”
ICTs play a pivotal role in achieving the post-2015 development agenda, enabling access to key development tools. E-education platforms help poor and remote populations to access to education and digital literacy skills, opening the world of employment. Emergency telecommunications facilitate key communications for natural disasters, helping to effectively coordinate relief efforts. mHealth tools open access to medical care, both for doctors and patients, reducing costs for prevention, diagnosis and treatment of non-communicable diseases, and long-term and preventable illnesses.
The awards were presented following a full day of events including the Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development’s bi-annual meeting and the launch of an ITU 150th Anniversary exhibition which is housed in the Main Hall of the United Nations Headquarters.