ITU awards Paul Kagame, Park Geun-hye, and Carlos Slim

ITU has awarded Paul Kagame, president, Republic of Rwanda; Park Geun-hye, president, Republic of Korea; and Carlos Slim, chairman, Grupo Carso and president, Carlos Slim Foundation as winners of the 2014 World Telecommunication and Information Society (WTISD) Award.

All the three have been honoured in recognition of their leadership and dedication towards promoting ICT development and broadband connectivity as a means of achieving sustainable development.

President Kagame is recognized for his leadership in the advancement of education and the potential of ICT as a dynamic industry as well as an enabler for Africa’s socio-economic transformation. He currently serves as chairman, UN Secretary General’s Advisory Group on UN MDG Advocacy Group.

President Park is the leader of the Republic of Korea, which has consistently topped ITU’s ICT Index for measuring the information society. The government has unveiled a set of long-term plans that foster creative talent, a move that establishes a new paradigm towards building a vibrant national economy in a digital environment.

Carlos Slim commands a diverse range of business portfolios within the Carso Group, with América Movil a leading supplier of telecommunications services. He has been committed to the promotion of technologies for development and his philanthropic activities have contributed to social and cultural development ranging from the promotion of arts to support in the areas of education, health, employment generation and community development.

President Kagame and Carlos Slim are co-chairs of the ITU-UNESCO Broadband Commission for Digital Development.

The theme for WTISD-14, “Broadband for Sustainable Development”, will focus attention on the global commitment to achieve universal access to broadband connectivity; identify key gaps in broadband research and development; define policy priorities for action in the areas of allocating radio-frequency spectrum for broadband, universal access obligations and innovative financing mechanisms; and lead to technological solutions, particularly in the extension of broadband access into rural areas.

“Broadband infrastructure development is a critical element in ensuring that ICTs are used innovatively as delivery vehicles for health, education, governance, trade and commerce in order to achieve sustainable socio-economic growth,” said Hamadoun I Toure, secretary-general, ITU.

“We need to implement national and domestic policies to accelerate the roll-out of broadband and to make it more affordable and accessible to all citizens; it is an effective way to empower people everywhere with information and knowledge to meet their aspirations and to achieve the overall goals of sustainable development,” added Toure.

The World Telecommunication and Information Society Award 2014 will be presented at a ceremony in Geneva on 16 May to mark the 149th anniversary of the establishment of ITU on 17 May, 1865. The ceremony will begin with a video message from United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon, followed by the presentation of awards and a high-level round-table discussion on broadband for sustainable development.

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