Kigali, 7 May 2018

President Kagame this morning co-chaired the Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development alongside Co-chair, Carlos Slim and Co-Vice Chair and ITU Secretary General Houlin Zhao.

The broadband commission brings together leaders from the private sector, policy makers, government representatives, international agencies and academia to provide a variety of perspectives with the aim of developing a joint approach to promote broadband for public benefit.

Speaking at the opening of the commission’s working group meeting, President Kagame noted that Africa’s economic transformation requires broadband infrastructure with an emphasis on both access and affordability.

“The reality is that all other digital services whether in commerce or education or healthcare run on top of broadband. Africa’s size, geography and settlement patterns mean that we must rely on a variety of different technologies to deliver broadband including satellite, fibre optic and mobile. It is up to us to lead the way in driving innovation both in policy and business models in order to speed up the provision of broadband where it has been slowest to reach,” President Kagame said.

President Kagame also delivered a Keynote Address at the opening of the Transform Africa Economic Forum which deliberated on the vision for a smart Continental Free Trade Area.

President Kagame highlighted the need for continental integration as a solution to many problems faced by Africans.

“The idea I wish to share is that technological integration should be seen as the vanguard of economic integration more generally. If you look at the purpose of integrating technology, it is to serve all of us and our businesses and other things. Then people have complained that if you are moving from Kigali, as a passenger on the plane, and you want to go, let’s say, to one part of West Africa. I go to Conakry, to Abidjan, to Lagos, to Accra, to Dakar…I’m sure in this audience there are people who have had close to a dozen stopovers, half of them maybe on our continent. Sometimes to fly home here, you have to go to Europe, maybe from one city to another in Europe, then to another city in Africa, and then another one in Africa as well.”

The Economic Forum aims at highlighting potential cross- border initiatives for investment and partnership opportunities relevant to African Continental Free Trade Area. The Agreement was signed by 44 African countries during the 10th Extraordinary Summit of the African Union held in Kigali on 21 March 2018.
The Transform Africa Economic Forum precedes Transform Africa Summit 2018, which runs from 8-9 May 2018.

In its fourth edition, Transform Africa Summit is a leading annual continental forum that convenes 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.