Meeting discusses the role of broadband in advancing the sustainable development goals

The meeting of the Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development took place in Kigali, Rwanda, from 6-7 May. It was held at the invitation of the president of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, and the Director-General of the GSMA, Mats Granryd. 34 Commissioners – representing the broadband industry, government, and United Nations agencies – convened to discuss the key issues related to the role of broadband in advancing the sustainable development goals (SDGs). Commissioners took part in onsite sessions of four Broadband Commission Working Groups: Vulnerable Countries, Epidemic Preparedness, Digital Entrepreneurship, and Digital Health. During the meeting, the Under-Secretary-General and High Representative of the United Nations Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS), issued a synthesis report on broadband for national development in four least developed countries (LDCs) – Cambodia, Rwanda, Senegal and Vanuatu. The synthesis report highlights that despite their different market environments, broadband coverage has increased notably and become more affordable for users in all four countries over the last few years. However, it also raises concerns that the demand for broadband and its productive use in least developed countries has not matched the growing supply. The full report is scheduled for release on 12 July 2018, during the United Nations High Level Political Forum in New York.