Mr Jean Philbert NSENGIMANA

Ministry of Youth and ICT

22 October 2014

Mr. Chairman,

Your Excellences Heads of Delegations,
ITU Elected Officials,
Distinguished Delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen, 

On behalf of the Rwandan Delegation, allow me first to join our voice to the previous speakers in expressing our gratitude to the Government of the Republic of Korea and  the City of Busan for the warm hospitality.  I also wish to thank the ITU a for an excellent organization of this meeting as well as its outstanding performance over the last 4 years since the last plenipotentiary conference under the leadership of Dr. Hamadoun Toure.

Mr. Chairman, distinguished delegates,                        

Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Sector has become a major driver of the world economy with and its contribution to GDP is no longer disputed. 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. 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. Rwanda is a proud supporter of the work of the United Nations Broadband Commission for Digital Development and our President HE Paul Kagame has served as its co-chair over the last 4 years. As it has been announced, President Paul Kagame join this PP  conference early next week.

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. 

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.

Mr Chairman,

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.

I take this opportunity to reiterate Rwanda's  commitment to financial contribution to "Transform Africa Scholarship fund" for capacity building in the continent. We will also continue contributing to ITU Accessibility Fund for Digital Inclusion of Persons with disabilities launched by the ITU Secretary-General.

In conclusion, 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.