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Rwanda's President backs Broadband Commission's rural connectivity plan

Rwanda's President backs Broadband Commission's rural connectivity plan

A new commitment to broadband rollout by the United Nation's Broadband Commission has received open endorsement by the body's Co-Chair and President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame.

The Commission met at Huawei's headquarters in Hong Kong this week to outlay a plan of action to connect the 5 billion people globally who are still without mobile broadband access.

Kagame registered his support for industry collaboration and new public-private partnership models that emerged from the meeting.

"I wish to thank the members and support teams, who have been working on different tasks in working groups, motivated by wanting to have the global community connected, especially the billions of unconnected people. We will always succeed especially when we work together: government, industry and civil society leaders. Suffice to say also, that it is going to be helpful to take a moment, at the right time, to measure the practical progress we have made."

Kagame said that ICT and broadband link people for the better of economies and societies.

The new multi-stakeholder approach to global broadband provision, as adopted by the Broadband Commission, emphasises remote and rural areas - those often located in the 'least developed countries' where the organisation feels the biggest challenges and barriers to access are to be found.

The Commission also plans to drive change by finding a workable balance between investment and taxation in order to promote human development and sustainable growth while spurring innovation. This, it says, will be done in addition to tackling issues associated with the cost of spectrum auctions in key markets where the digital divide is most prevalent with all its stakeholders among which are leaders from government, industry, international organisations and academia.

Houlin Zhao, Secretary-General of ITU and Co-Vice Chair of the Broadband Commission also emphasised the organisation's new pledge to build an ecosystem for government, ministries and the private sector collaborate towards more efficient investment and taxation.

"Our central conviction is that broadband and ICTs are critical if we are to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. ICTs underpin vital achievements and modern services in many sectors, and governments and industry must increasingly work together to create the conditions so badly needed to facilitate the growth of broadband for sustainable development."

The 53-member Broadband Commission was founded in 2010, and is co-chaired by President Kagame alongside Mexican entrepreneur Carlos Slim Helú, President of the Carlos Slim Foundation.

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