The Head of State made the observation on Friday, September 18th, while addressing a meeting of the Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development on the 10th anniversary of the commission.
President Kagame said that the first decade of the Broadband Commission has made a real impact by highlighting the transformational power of universal access to high-speed internet connectivity and smartphones.
“Ideas that seemed futuristic ten years ago are now mainstream; the next decade will be about using digital tools to speed up the recovery from the COVID pandemic and make up some of the lost ground on the SDGs.
“We must become better prepared for future global health crises. Equal access to education has been very uneven due to the remaining digital divide,” President Kagame said.
President Kagame thanked members of the commission for taking the time to join the meeting to share knowledge and experiences and for the dedication throughout their tenure serving the commission.
“Earlier this year, the United Nations Secretary-General launched a roadmap for an ambitious digital cooperation agenda. This initiative promises to further elevate the important work of the Broadband Commission, which has been made possible by the productive partnerships embodied within our diverse membership,”
“We stand ready to support the Secretary-General’s vision for digital inclusion as a cornerstone of the Sustainable Development Goals.”
President Kagame also recognized ten new Commissioners who include Erik Ekudden, from Ericsson, Filippo Grandi, from the UNHCR, Lacina Koné, the Director General of Smart Africa, Hyeonmo Ku from KT Corporation and Pekka Lundmark from Nokia.
Others include Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, from Ghana, Dongyu Qu, from FAO, Andrew Sullivan, of the Internet Society, Mohammed Al-Tamimi from Saudi Arabia and Makiko Yamada from Japan.
The Broadband Commission was launched in 2010 with a view to furthering the campaign to accelerate the spread of the Internet worldwide. It is estimated that by 2025, about 35% of the population in poor countries will have access to fast internet, which is 65% in developing countries and 75% in the rest of the world.