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Cablegate: Rwanda Hosts East Africa Broadband Conference

VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHLGB #0493/01 1431410
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 231410Z MAY 07
FM AMEMBASSY KIGALI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4173
RUCPDOC/DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC
INFO RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 0870
RUEHDR/AMEMBASSY DAR ES SALAAM 0875
RUEHJB/AMEMBASSY BUJUMBURA 0062
RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 1604
RUEHKI/AMEMBASSY KINSHASA 0212
RUEHSA/AMEMBASSY PRETORIA 1796
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 0235

UNCLAS KIGALI 000493

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR AF/C
DEPARTMENT PASS USTDA: URSULA ISZLER, DOUG SHUSTER
DEPARTMENT PASS USTR: WJACKSON
DEPARTMENT PASS COMMERCE FOR RTELCHIN, DAN HURLEY

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EFIN ECON ECPS PGOV EINV ETRD EPET BTIO RW
SUBJECT: RWANDA HOSTS EAST AFRICA BROADBAND CONFERENCE

1. SUMMARY. The GOR, in conjunction with the U.S. government,
hosted an East African Broadband workshop in Kigali from May 8-10 to
produce a roadmap for expanding broadband connectivity in East
Africa.

2. President Kagame opened a two-day East African Broadband workshop
jointly hosted by the GOR and the USG, underscoring his leadership
on information and communication technology (ICT) issues and
stressing that the region should work together for a harmonized ICT
policy. The workshop assembled key ICT stake holders from Kenya,
Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi to deliberate on the way
forward and to share solutions on how to overcome the bottlenecks
that hinder the growth and development of broadband internet
connectivity. Ambassador David Gross, the U.S. Coordinator for
International Communications and Information Policy, led the USG
delegation to the conference on behalf of the President's Digital
Freedom Initiative, accompanied by representatives from USTDA, NTIA
at Commerce, the FCC, and private-sector companies Cisco Systems and
Intel.

3. Following the two-day workshop, the Global Digital Freedom
Initiative (GDFI) hosted a roundtable to examine specific steps that
ICT businesses and governments in East Africa could take to remove
or relax impediments to broadband deployment.

4. The following is the text of the joint communiqu by ICT
Ministers and senior officials from Burundi, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda,
and Tanzania, signed on May 9, 2007 in Kigali:

Implementation of a Unified policy on East Africa Broadband
Connectivity
Noting that the representatives from the Governments of Rwanda,
Kenya, Uganda, Burundi and Tanzania gathered in Kigali, Rwanda, May
8-9, 2007 at a workshop, to discuss avenues for accelerating the
deployment of broadband connectivity in East Africa;
Appreciating that the event was co-hosted by the Government of
Rwanda and the U.S. Digital Freedom Initiative, a public-private
partnership with support from the U.S. Department of State, USTDA,
Federal Communications Commission, U.S. Department of Commerce, and
USAID along with Cisco Systems;
Recalling that the participants were urged by President Paul Kagame
of Rwanda during his opening remarks to make significant progress
during the workshop;
Also recalling the extensive discussions held between the
Delegations of Burundi, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Uganda, and the
support given by the US Government and its associated Federal
Agencies;
Understanding that Information and Communication Technology (ICT)
offers opportunities to impact all aspects of society including
connecting rural areas and schools, supporting and strengthening the
private sector including job creation, enhancing government
provision of services, allowing institutions of higher education to
access and share research, improving the delivery of health care
services, and facilitating the free flow of information;
Reaffirming the urgent need to increase broadband access in the
region to drive economic, social and political growth and the desire
to complement other initiatives in the region;
Appreciating that a good network backbone is crucial for the
economic development of our region;
Emphasizing the use of ICTs for development and that in order to
realize some of the UN MDGs for our region, our governments have to
play a role in rolling out infrastructure to create an enabling
environment for private-public partnerships;

And therefore
Realizing the goals given as a challenge by President Kagame in his
opening statement to the participants that there be a common goal to
expand broadband connectivity in the region, it was agreed by the
Governments of Burundi, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Uganda that:

1. Progress must be made to bring undersea fiber optic cable systems
and backbone connections to the region as quickly as possible;

2. Discussions with all potential submarine cable systems including
the East African Submarine System (EASSy), the East Africa Marine
System (TEAMS), and others, should aim to meet the requirements of
all public and private stakeholders;

3. TEAMS has made significant progress and as such it will be fast
tracked. Within a week, TEAMS will incorporate the countries in the


region and request nominations to the technical team from East
African countries. TEAMS will provide a briefing of regional
governments about the technical, legal and investment details with a
view to seeking inputs from regional partners within the next four
to six weeks;

4. In an effort to build technical capacity to support the
deployment of broadband and submarine cable networks, the U.S.
Digital Freedom Initiative and its partners including USTTI and
USTDA will work together to offer training on interconnection,
transiting, long-term cable maintenance and spectrum management
issues for regulatory agencies, ministries and others i
n the region.
In service training and attachments in the US in key technological
areas was emphasized. Exposure to US working culture & ethics to be
part of training. Resources under the World Bank financed Regional
Communication Infrastructure Program shall also be utilized towards
the training. The East African governments will make nominations
within the next three months;

5. The EAC should adopt an open access policy for backbone networks
and agree they should be operated on a non-discriminatory manner
based on a cost model that is sustainable, which supports regional
interconnectivity and allows for high end usage that is affordable
to the end users within three months;

6. East African governments will work through the EAC towards
harmonizing regulatory policies in order to facilitate successful
expansion of broadband infrastructure within three months;

7. The EAC will develop a regional connectivity vision for an
Eastern Loop with the understanding that each nation will develop
its own segment;

8. Permanent Secretaries, Secretary Generals and Regulators from the
region should ensure that the objectives are met and report back to
their governments. The EAC should convene a review meeting within
three months from the date of this communique to review progress on
the resolutions above.


5. This cable has been cleared by the office of Ambassador David
Gross - EB/CIP.

ARIETTI

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