Minister Siyabonga Cwele on conclusion of successful engagements in Rwanda

Minister Cwele concludes successful engagements at the United Nations Broadband Commission Spring Meeting and the Smart Africa Summit which were held in Kigali, Rwanda

The Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services Dr Siyabonga Cwele has concluded successful engagements at the 2018 United Nations' Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development Spring Meeting and the Smart Africa Summit which were held on Kigali, Rwanda this week.

The Broadband Commission is seeking ways to connect the half of the world's population who remain unconnected to the internet. Most of these people are in developing countries and on the continent.

Minister Cwele is one of 52 global Broadband Commissioners that are drawn from leaders in government, business, academia, policy makers and international agencies.

The Broadband Commission Spring Meeting adopted seven targets to be met by 2025 towards connecting the people who remain offline;

All countries should have a funded national broadband plan or strategy, or include broadband in their universal access and services definition

Entry-level broadband services should be made affordable in developing countries, at less than 2% of monthly gross national per capita income.

Broadband/Internet user penetration should reach: 75% worldwide, 65% in developing countries, and 35% in least developed countries.

60% of youth and adults should have achieved at least a minimum level of proficiency in sustainable digital skills.

40% of the world's population should be using digital financial services.

Un-connectedness of Small, Micro and Medium-sized Enterprises should be reduced by 50%

Gender equality should be achieved across all targets.

We welcome the new targets because they continue to encourage us to improve. There is still a huge rural and gender divide in developing countries. Partnerships such as the Internet For All are crucial to closing these gaps. We must measure our progress through statistics to determine how far we have come and how much further we need to be, said Minister Cwele.

The Smart Africa Summit aims to use ICT as a driver of socio-economic development and to promote accountability, efficiency and openness. It seeks to put in place policies and a regulatory environment that encourages partnerships, entrepreneurship, job creation and knowledge sharing.

This year's meeting was attended by people representing 92 countries.

The key outcomes include the following;

Roll out of One Africa Network by Smart Africa member states

Member states to prepare bankable projects for consideration during China-Africa ICT Summit later this year.

Smart Africa Start-up Fund approved and championed by Tunisia.

South Africa is championing localisation and skills development.

Zambia joined as new member state and MTN SA as new private sector member.

Source: Government of South Africa