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 An international conference focusing on the role of information and communications technology (ICT) to hasten achievement of sustainable development goals opened in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi on Monday.

Delegates from governments, industry, academia and civil society from more than 70 countries are attending the four-day summit to explore the role of ICT in transforming development.

Kenyan Cabinet Secretary for ICT, Joe Mucheru in his opening remarks said that harnessing new technologies and innovations is critical to alleviate poverty, disease, illiteracy and environmental degradation.

"We need to utilize digital tools at our disposal to solve some of the pressing challenges in our contemporary society. There is no denying that ICT can accelerate sustainable development," Mucheru said.

The ICT for development summit in Nairobi was organized by International charities in partnership with leading tech companies.

An estimated 750 experts from different fields are attending the summit to discuss how ICT solutions can be applied in disaster response, healthcare, farming, education and weather monitoring.

Mucheru said that solutions to global poverty, disease, hunger, conflicts and environmental degradation hinges on smart application of ICT.

"Investments in modern technologies and innovations underpins attainment of key sustainable development goals that includes equitable growth, food security and health," said Mucheru.

He added the Kenyan government has prioritized creation of a knowledge based economy in line with vision 2030 blue print.

Relief agencies have partnered with governments and corporations to push for integration of ICT in development programs.

Sean Callahan, the Chief Operating Officer, Catholic Relief Services hailed the impact of ICT in transforming communities in marginalized zones.

"Developing countries now stand before revolutionary possibilities to leapfrog ahead using technology," said Callahan adding that rural communities can now use mobile applications to access weather information and monitor prices of farm produce.

He urged governments to facilitate uptake of technology and innovations in key sectors of the economy through policy and regulatory incentives.

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