Rwanda’s Minister of Youth and ICT addresses ITU Plenipotentiary Conference
Rwanda’s Minister of Youth and ICT, Jean Philbert Nsengimana, today addressed the 19th International Telecommunication Union plenipotentiary conference in South Korea.
The conference is taking place in Busan, South Korea, and is attended by 3000 delegates from 175 ITU member states, sector members and observer organizations, including over 104 Ministers, 35 Deputy Ministers, and 67 ambassadors.
Minister Nsengimana stressed that “In Rwanda ICTs are saving lives, helping educating the next generation with initiatives such as the One Laptop Per Child, ICTs have played a major role in our efforts to be among the countries that are on course to meet all MDGs in Africa. They enabled government efforts that have transformed the country into one best places to do business in Africa and globally.”
“ICTs represent today one of the major weapons in the fight against poverty. ICT is undoubtedly the infrastructure of the present and future knowledge economy much in the same way roads and railways were for the agrarian and industrial revolutions. In that perspective, Rwanda has always been a strong believer in the transformative potential of ICTs and broadband in particular,” noted Minister Nsengimana.
“We believe that ICT should be at the centre of the Sustainable Development Goals, beyond 2015. Over the last 10 years, Rwanda has worked with the ITU to promote broadband as an enabler of socio-economic transformation in Africa and beyond.”
In 2007, Rwanda co-hosted with ITU the connect Africa Summit which resulted into more than $ 70 Billion dollar in broadband infrastructure in Africa over the 5 years that followed the conference.
In 2013 Rwanda and ITU shifted gears and hosted Transform Summit and objective is now to attract $ 300 B investments in the African ICT sector over the next 5 years. In the line with this commitment, the Summit adopted the Smart Africa Manifesto which was further endorsed by the 22nd Ordinary Session of the African Union General Assembly.
Minister Nsengimana said that “The Smart Africa Manifesto puts ICT at the center of national socio-economic development agenda. African leaders rightfully acknowledged ICT's transformative power to increase productivity of other sectors like agriculture, Education, Healthcare, Government effectiveness and transparency, Business and other key sectors.”
The leaders agreed to put the private sector first. They reaffirmed the unique ability of the private sector to increase investment, drive job creation and foster innovation largely led by youth. They resolved to sustain efforts to turn Africa from being largely a passive consumer, to a producer of ICTs by supporting the growth and maturity of local innovation ecosystems.
Minister Nsengimana reiterates Rwanda’s commitment to financial contribution to Transform Africa Scholarship fund “We will also continue contributing to ITU Accessibility Fund for Digital Inclusion of Persons with disabilities launched by the ITU Secretary-General; as member state of ITU Council for the period 2010 -2014, we wish to continue serving the Union for the coming period 2015 -2018 and count on your support.”