The International Telecommunications Union has given President Uhuru Kenyatta an award for promoting the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) for development.
The president was awarded “The ICTs in Sustainable Development Award” which honors the important contributions made by leaders, on behalf of their countries, towards harnessing the potential of information and communication technologies (ICTs) for sustainable development.
The special award ceremony was held at UN Headquarters, in New York which officially recognized nine Heads of State/Heads of Government for their efforts to improve access to ICT networks and services.
President Kenyatta won the award following the remarkable progress Kenya has made in ICT development and the important role technology is playing in achieving development and service delivery goals.
President Kenyatta, who was also present at the event, had traveled to New York, U.S., to attend the 70th Session of United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). He outlined his efforts in ICT development saying that our success in ICT projects relied on the establishment of our National ICT Master Plan and National Broadband Strategy which outlines our desired path to a knowledge-based economy where ICTs underpin service delivery, and provide the bedrock of our activities in critical sectors of the economy, especially agriculture, education and health.
He further stated that policies enacted by the government would consistently focus on innovation as an essential step to enhancing growth of the ICT sector, saying plans are underway to launch Enterprise Kenya, a fund to encourage and support innovation in the country.
“This fund will be used to aid budding Kenyan innovators and start-ups to enable them get the necessary financial support to move from idea to start-up and from start-up possibly to market in good time,” said the president.
The award was conferred by ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao at a Gala Dinner hosted by the Global Sustainability Foundation (GSF), which celebrated ITU’s role in ‘Connecting the World’. Speakers at the event heralded the catalytic role that ICTs play in the achievement of the SDGs.
“The leaders recognized at this event set the benchmark for improving access, affordability and application of ICTs to drive socio-economic development,” said ITU’s Zhao. “With the international community on the brink of agreeing a bold 2030 agenda, it is clear ICTs have a fundamental role to play in the achievement of the new Sustainable Development Goals. ITU will be doing everything in its power to support our members – both government and private industry – in driving sustainable development through ICTs, and will work tirelessly to ensure the benefits of ICTs are available and accessible to all the world’s people.”
ITU emphasized the vital role that information and communication technology (ICT) will play in meeting the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). The ICTs in Sustainable Development Award re-affirms ITU’s commitment to enabling development through ICTs.
ICTs play a pivotal role in achieving the post-2015 development agenda, enabling access to key development tools. E-education platforms help poor and remote populations to access to education and digital literacy skills, opening the world of employment. Emergency telecommunications facilitate key communications for natural disasters, helping to effectively coordinate relief efforts. mHealth tools open access to medical care, both for doctors and patients, reducing costs for prevention, diagnosis and treatment of non-communicable diseases, and long-term and preventable illnesses.
Other recipients of the prestigious award included: H.E. Mr Ali Bongo Ondimba, President of the Gabonese Republic, H.E. Mr Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda, H.E. Mr Tabaré Vázquez, President of the Eastern Republic of Uruguay, H.E. Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, H.E. Mr Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama, Prime Minister of the Republic of Fiji, H.E. Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak, Prime Minister of Malaysia, H.E. General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand and H.E. Mr Meltek Sato Kilman Livtuvanu, Prime Minister of the Republic of Vanuatu.
The awards were presented following a full day of events including the Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development’s bi-annual meeting and the launch of an ITU 150th Anniversary exhibition which is housed in the Main Hall of the United Nations Headquarters.