Thursday, 17 October 2013

Mushikiwabo highlights the importance of IT in rapid economic growth at Seoul conference


Foreign Affair Minister Louise Mushikiwabo

The Minister of Foreign Affairs Louise Mushikiwabo has said that Rwandan companies and the people of Rwanda are now able do business anywhere in the world due to Internet connection which has provided a considerable number of opportunities for the people, and translated into economic growth.

The Minister made the remarks on Thursday in a speech he delivered at the Seoul Cyberspace Conference taking place in the republic of Korea.

According to Mushikiwabo, Rwandan companies can do business anywhere in the world with the help of the Internet connection, providing a considerable number of opportunities for the Rwandan people.

“Young entrepreneurs are selling and buying homes. A mother in rural Rwanda can sell art crafts to a family in the Republic of Korea. Students in Rwandan schools can learn from teachers in Asia through videoconferencing or access study material from other parts of the world. And Rwandan nurses are now busy monitoring and collecting data on public health online while aggrieved citizens can file court cases online,” said Mushikiwabo.

In a well articulated speech, Mushikiwabo said that Rwanda as a country determined to achieve rapid economic development, fully understands that information technology must be part of it and that it must have the two key components of cyberspace capability.

She explained that the first component is high-speed broadband, preferably mobile broadband and the national computing power in the form of IT cloud services.

In a simple analogy to help participants understand the critical importance of the two components the Minister likened the broadband as a highway over which cars and trucks travel while supporting economic activity on one hand and IT cloud services as the cars and trucks using the highways to enable citizens to achieve their economic and social objectives on the other.

Minister Mushikiwabo also explained how a group of countries with comparable economic situations as Rwanda can work cooperatively to achieve a better outcome in their quest to establish cyberspace capability amongst regardless of geographic proximity and said:

“We believe the answer is in crossborder cooperation, one that can provide us with access to technology and know-how coupled with interstate cooperation between strategic technology partners.”

On this, she noted that Rwanda has established strong crossborder cooperation with the Republic of Korea and together have developed strong strategic partnership with a number of Korean corporations that are currently working with the country to roll out infrastructure at the pace required to achieve rapid development. She said that the countries have developed excellent cooperation.

“We are now jointly rolling out with Korea telecom a 4G LTE wireless broadband on top of our nationwide fiber optic network as the last piece of the puzzle in our quest for high-speed broadband access,” she said.

In her concluding remark, Mushikwabo called upon the international community to make continuous and collective efforts to preserve and increase the opportunities and benefits of cyberspace while reducing its risks and challenges through collaboration of both public and private sectors.

She also informed participants that the Government of Rwanda will be a four-day high-level ICT conference called Transform Africa.

The conference which aims at mobilizing the international IT community to set a new agenda for Africa to leapfrog development challenges through the use of broadband and related services is scheduled to take place in Kigali on October 28 and end on October 31.

Mushikiwabo highlights the importance of IT in rapid economic growth at Seoul conference


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