RPF Chairman rallies for more investment in broadband access

In his capacity as global co-chair of the Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development, the RPF Chairman, President Paul Kagame has challenged countries of the world to invest more to achieve universal and affordable broadband.

The commission, which was established in 2011 and is co-chaired by the President together with Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, was meeting in Kigali on Sunday, June 5 for their 2021 spring meeting.

Houlin Zhao, Secretary General of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) as well as Broadband commission co-vice chair also attended the meeting among other high ranked officials.

This is the third time Kigali hosts the meeting.

"It is very encouraging to see that our Broadband Commission community is as energetic and focused, as ever. So I really want to thank you all for your continued commitment to our shared agenda," he said.

The head of state pointed out that the meeting is happening at an opportune moment when Rwanda, for the first time in Africa, is hosting the World Telecommunication Development Conference.

The summit under the theme ‘connecting the unconnected’, Kagame said, the launch of Partner-to-Connect, a platform to mobilize new resources and partnerships for universal connectivity.

He said that more than 200 pledges have been made so far, including 12 from Broadband Commissioners.

"As an example, Rwanda has already benefitted from such partnership efforts as a lead country in the Giga initiative, led by ITU and UNICEF. The pilot project in 63 schools has resulted in a quadrupling of capacity and a 55% reduction in cost," he added.

On June 5th Broadband Commissioners, leaders and special guests courted in Kigali to evaluate the necessary actions for ensuring an equitable, environmentally sustainable and inclusive digital future.

"One of the challenges we need to overcome is reducing the cost of broadband subscriptions and digital devices especially in low and lower middle income economies," Zhao said.

He highlighted that affordability of broadband services in developing countries is also one of the commission's 2025 targets.

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