It is a real pleasure to be joining you, for the opening of the first in-person Mobile World Congress Africa.

I welcome you all to Rwanda. We are very pleased to host you.

I wish to thank GSMA, for choosing our country as the venue for this year’s conference.

Digital technologies are a catalytic force for development in Africa.

Yet, almost half of adults in low- and middle-income countries do not have access to the internet, even when living in areas with broadband coverage.

Digital infrastructure is key, but it is not enough.

To leverage the potential of connectivity, investments in digital skills and literacy must be integrated in our national policies.

In Rwanda, with the support of the private sector, Kigali Innovation City aims to develop a competitive and productive workforce and a conducive environment for start-ups.

Africa is home to creative and tech-savvy youth, looking for the right platform to contribute solutions.

We cannot afford to reduce them to a statistic, only, or sit idly by, as they seek opportunity outside of Africa.

Our young people have a lot to offer. We must do our part, and keep our promise to them.

Significant strides have been made on the continent to accelerate the digital transformation, through initiatives spearheaded by the African Union and Smart Africa, among others.

However, to leave no one behind, we must create a more enabling legal and regulatory environment.

However, to leave no one behind means a number of things as well, and we must recognize that digital transformation is not a zero-sum game, where progress must come at the expense of the most vulnerable. Not at all.

Everyone, regardless of status, gender, or nationality, must benefit, if we want to create lasting change.

Universal and meaningful connectivity for all can be a springboard, for the full implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area.

This is less about leapfrogging legacy systems, and more about digitizing faster and taking full ownership in building the Africa we want, because we can, all of us together.

Everywhere in the world, emerging technologies are shaping our economic future, as well as the conditions for peace and security.

To speed up prosperity, technology has to go hand and hand with good governance.

I trust that you will take this message with you, throughout the conference.

Once again, welcome to Rwanda. I wish you a very productive meeting and a pleasant stay in our country.

I thank you for your kind attention.