Kigali, 10 May 2017

President Kagame today opened the Transform Africa 2017 Summit in Kigali themed ‘Smart Cities’, which brings together Heads of State, First Ladies, Ministers and Government officials in ICT & related sectors such as digital economy, infrastructure, finance, health, education, and energy, Mayors of African cities, Telecom and Utilities Regulators, Heads of International and Regional Organizations, ICT Industry leaders, innovators and investors and young innovators, Girls and Women in STEM among other stakeholders.

President Kagame, in his remarks 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 equalising 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.”

On low connectivity in Africa, President Kagame said this 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.”

President Kagame said African leaders need to work together to put technology in hands of citizens in order to build inclusive and sustainable places to live, as the continent looks set to emerge as one of the planet’s great centres of growth, innovation and opportunity in the generations ahead.