from PHYLLIS BIRORI in Kigali, Rwanda
KIGALI – RWANDA has conferred one of its highest civilian honours on the Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Houlin Zhao.
President Paul Kagame bestowed the National Order of Honour during the second week of ITU’s landmark World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC).
It has brought digital leaders and decision-makers and other stakeholders to Kigali for high-level global discussions.
Zhao, heading ITU for nearly eight years, has provided “distinguished service as the leader of ITU during a very consequential period for the globalization of telecommunications technology,” the Rwandan Presidency announced.
“I am deeply honoured by, and sincerely grateful for, this recognition from the President of the Republic of Rwanda (Paul Kagame), who is a respected African leader and global ICT promoter,” Zhao said upon receiving the award.
“When I was first elected Secretary-General in 2014, only about one third of the world’s population was online. Today, nearly two thirds are connected, while a persistent digital divide leaves one third of humanity still unconnected,” said Zhao.
Chinese executive, Zhao, said the award would inspire and encourage all to tackle digital development challenges and ensure no one is left behind.
“I would like to take this opportunity to pay my respects to President Kagame for his vision for the digital future, as well as his capable leadership in ICT adoption to transform Africa and facilitate global ICT development.”
The honour, which carries a medal, is awarded to high-ranking officials for promoting political, economic, and social welfare consistent with Rwanda’s interests at the national or international level.
The ten-day WTDC is set to conclude on Thursday with the adoption of the Kigali Action Plan.
This is a roadmap for accelerating digital transformation in the wake of COVID-19 and a guiding document for ITU’s work in the development sphere over the next four years.
– CAJ News