KIGALI Rwanda (Xinhua) --
Rwandan President Paul Kagame opened the Transform
Africa 2017 Summit Wednesday in Kigali with a call on countries to
collectively ensure universal access to technology.
Opening the summit, Kagame observed that technology is a powerful
framework for bringing diverse stakeholders together to define
challenges and find solutions.
“If technology is entrenching divides, rather than equalizing
opportunities, then we are not harnessing it well. Access to
technology information must also not distinguish between rich and
poor. So long as women and girls are lagging behind then we are not
on the right track. We must deliver on technology’s promise to
bridge divides, rather than deepen them,” he said.
More than a quarter of the African population (334 million) has
access to the Internet, the majority of who are young people and
potential lifelong learners, according to a latest study by the
Kagame however said low connectivity in Africa should be regarded as
an opportunity rather than a challenge.
“This must be regarded as an opportunity for stronger public-private
collaboration. In Rwanda, our partnership with Korea Telecom has
already served to speed up our progress toward the broadband target.
Africa has to be connected, and why not at the highest possible
speeds. Our future well-being, depends on how well we respond to
these challenges, right now,” Kagame said.
The Rwandan leader said African leaders need to work together to put
technology in hands of citizens in order to build inclusive and
sustainable places to live, noting that the continent looks set to
emerge as one of the planet’s great centers of growth, innovation
and opportunity in the generations ahead.
Themed “Smart Cities”, the three-day summit drew Heads of State and
government officials in ICT and related sectors such as digital
economy, infrastructure, finance, health, education, and energy, and
mayors of African cities.
Inclusive investment, smart techs
to propel Africa’s smart cities drive: delegates
KIGALI Rwanda (Xinhua) --
Inclusive investments in people’s social and economic
well being and adoption of smart information communication
technologies will play a key role towards achieving Africa’s smart
cities initiative, according to delegates attending the Transform
Africa Summit 2017.
They made the remarks on Wednesday during the opening of the third
Transform Africa Summit 2017, in the Rwandan Capital, Kigali.
The central African nation hosts the high level continental summit
from May 10 to 12, with a focus on developing smart Africa cities
using the power of technology.
“Transforming Africa means transforming Africans, by enabling a
practical mindset of problem-solving. The focus on people is the
starting point around which we can build everything else. We should
invest heavily in our people and as well as smart technologies to
achieve smart urbanized cities in Africa,” said Rwanda President
Paul Kagame at the event.
He added that technology is a powerful framework for bringing
diverse stakeholders together to define challenges and find
solutions for smarter Africa because the continent is not as
prosperous as it should be because the cities are too small and
The meeting has attracted heads of states from several African
countries, heads of Smart Africa organizations, delegates from UN
Broadband Commission on Digital Development, technology chief
executives, technology experts and young innovators from across
Africa and beyond.
The opening session of the forum featured the unveiling of the
Africa Smart and Sustainable Cities Blueprint and a high level
dialogue between heads of state, private sector business leaders and
executives of international organizations.
The smart cities agenda seeks to integrate urban planning, physical
infrastructure, urban facilities, public space, service provision
and ICT infrastructure into management and provision of critical
public utilities and services in rural and urban setting.
Speaking at the summit, Zhao Houlin, secretary general of
International Telecommunications Union (ITU) said that smart
technologies have the power to transform African cities into smart
global competitive cities.
“Africans have the willingness to work and succeed. Africa policy
makers and the private sector need to work together to transform
African cities into dynamic and prosperous places,” he noted.
Transform Africa Summit is the annual leading African forum bringing
together global and regional leaders from government, business and
international organizations to collaborate on new ways of shaping,
accelerating and sustaining Africa’s on-going digital revolution.
Amani Abou-Zeid, Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy at the
African Union Commission said that heavy investments in the welfare
of people and required infrastructure are key to a smarter way of
life in cities in Africa.
“Africa remains the least-urbanized continent due to lack of smart
technologies, limited innovation and poor urban planning,” she
The three-day conference has about 10 side events across multiple
areas, including “smart women” summit, business leader’s symposium,
and business to business session and Miss Geek competition.
The smart cities initiative, which aims at leveraging technology
solutions to improve efficiency of cities, is backed by 11 African
countries while more nations are expected to join.
Presently, member countries include Ivory Coast, Gabon, Kenya, Mali,
Uganda, Senegal, South Sudan, Chad, Angola, Rwanda and Burkina Faso.