Leading sector players in the Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) have called for more cooperation and partnerships among telecommunication and ICT stakeholders to fast-track the advancement of the sector in the region to help ensure sustainable development.
The call was made yesterday in Kigali, during the opening of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Regional Development Forum (RDF) and the Regional Preparatory Meeting (RPM-AFR) for the 2017 World Communication Development Conference (WTDC-2017) for Africa.
“I would like to extend my gratitude to the ITU for selecting Rwanda as the co-host of this important event, which only strengthens the excellent partnership between the government and ITU. The African wisdom says that if you want to go fast you go alone, if you want to go far, you go together. We are here to find a way to create wisdom,” said Youth and ICT minister Jean Philbert Nsengimana, who officiated at the opening ceremony.
“Every time we have an opportunity to meet as leaders from the public and private sectors, academia and civil society in ICT, we must use it to advance the role that new technologies are playing and can play in making this world and our continent a better place,” he said.
According to the organisers, the two key ITU Africa Regional meetings which are taking place at the Kigali Marriott Hotel, attracted regional and international key players in the ICT sector.
The Regional Development Forum provided an opportunity for high-level dialogue among stakeholders.
On the other hand, the Regional Preparatory Meeting, which starts today through Thursday, aims at engaging ITU members in the preparations of WTDC-17, scheduled from October 9 to 20, 2017 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, to identify issues that need to be addressed to foster the development of telecommunications/ ICTs.
Lamin Manneh, the Resident Coordinator of the One UN in Rwanda, said that the conference is a platform to review the implementation of the Africa regional initiatives but, more importantly, a moment to discuss partnerships.
“The ITU Regional Development Forum for the Africa region is giving us a platform to discuss partnership and resource mobilisation activities in Africa, and also define prospective areas of ICT development beyond 2017 in the context of contributing to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals,” he said.
Aligning ICT development with SDGs
Participants also said that such meetings should also be a reminder to work towards achieving the global agenda, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), through accelerating the ICT development.
“The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development recognised that the spread of information and communication technology and global interconnectedness has great potential to accelerate human progress, to bridge the digital divide and to develop knowledge societies. ICT has indeed the potential to be a key catalyst for achieving the SDGs and the three pillars of sustainable development, economic development, social inclusions and environmental,” said Manneh.
The meetings are bringing together ICT policy-makers, regulators, academia, regional and international development agencies.