Addis Ababa, 31 January 2017
President Kagame today chaired theSmart Africa Board Meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopian on the sidelines of the African Union Summit. The meeting coincided with the first anniversary of the Smart Africa Secretariat.
In his address to the board meeting which was also attended by the International Telecommunications Secretary General Houlin Zhao as well as representatives of multinationals part of the alliance, President Paul Kagame said that the continent’s growing promise to capitalize the potential of ICT should be reflected in gains for citizens.
With the world fast embracing the fourth industrial revolution President Kagame said that Africa’s challenge is to catch up in providing universal broadband.
“To succeed in making African homes, offices, schools and cities smart, we have to harness opportunities in exponential technologies. These technologies include; Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Drones, Big Data, Block chain, and 3D printing.”
The Smart Africa Alliance has grown over time from seven members during inception in 2013 to 17 countries representing a market of about 360 million people. Seven additional countries are expected to join the alliance before the end of March this year.
Among the firms represented at the meeting were Ericsson, Liquid Telecom, Inmarsat and Huawei.
Six countries have since joined the alliance since January 2016 bringing the total partner states to 17 countries. The latest entrants are Benin, Djibouti, Egypt, Guinea, Niger and Togo.
Private sector players have also joined the alliance bringing on board technical expertise and funding.
A total of $1,579,873 has so far been raised to support the secretariat of which $0.8m is a contribution from the government Rwanda while the private sector contributions in membership fees amounting to $779,873.
The alliance and secretariat has overseen multiple initiatives such as a scholarship fund which has raised over $1.1m in contributions from Burkina Faso, Gabon, Mali, Rwanda, South Sudan and ITU.