First of all, I am pleased to join you for the opening ceremony of this Mobile World Congress.
I welcome you all. We are very happy to host you.
I commend Mats and GSMA for the important work you are doing to unlock the full potential of mobile connectivity.
I thank you for contributing to our continent’s development.
The pandemic has added to accelerating the transition to a new era of the technology-led development.
Our young and talented entrepreneurs are driving this change, and we continue to support them.
For example, financial technology is starting to make a big difference in everyday lives of our citizens.
The potential of digital health technology to transform our health systems, is also very clear.
That means we have to address the gaps in access and connectivity, with a sense of urgency. Too many Africans remain offline.
Today, Africa has the fastest-growing mobile penetration rate globally.
But we still have a long way to go.
Yet, we already have the means to address the problems we are dealing with today.
Regional integration, powered by faster and more reliable broadband, is a big part of it.
The African Union and Smart Africa are our key institutions leading this, and Africa enjoys strong support from many partners.
We can get more results, faster, by working together.
I want to commend Airtel Rwanda for bringing the cost of 4G data within reach of nearly every Rwandan, with a new initiative announced yesterday.
And many thanks to philanthropic support from Reed Hastings, the Co-Founder and Executive Chairman of Netflix, Rwandans will be able to acquire a new smartphone for under 20 dollars, in order to take advantage of the offer.
MTN Rwanda has already offered a new competitive pricing to its customers, as well. This is also very good news. We thank MTN.
Government’s role was to maintain an enabling environment, and a level playing field.
This shows the power of collaboration among the private sector, government, and strategic philanthropy.
At the same time, we must continue to prioritize digital skills and literacy.
Globally, we are also seeing strong momentum to support Africa’s digital transformation.
The ITU’s Partner2Connect Digital Coalition, launched last year, is a very good example.
So far, over 32 billion dollars in pledges have been mobilized, and hard-to-reach communities will benefit the most.
I thank ITU, under the leadership of Doreen-Bogdan Martin, for spearheading this alliance.
If there is one lesson from the pandemic, it is that in times of crisis, we have to look for the common denominator.
Only then, can we see the light at the end of the tunnel, and build the future we all deserve.
Once again, I thank you all for coming to Kigali to attend the Mobile World Congress, which we are very happy to host for the second time.
You are most welcome, and I wish you all a productive meeting, and I thank you for your kind attention.