Kigali, 29 October 2013
President Kagame today said success belongs to those who can innovate and seize opportunities presented by the digital revolution.While addressing the Transform Africa Summit co-organised by the Government of Rwanda and ITU and attended by PresidentAli Bongo Ondimba of Gabon,President Blaise Compaore of Burkinafaso, resident Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta of Mali, President Salva Kiir Mayardit of South Sudan, President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, President Kagame said thatICT has the potential to boost economies and to improve the living standards of Africans.
“We want to equip the African youth with these technologies and accelerate our development because we believe that success belongs to those who can innovate and those who seize the available opportunities. We are here from all sectors to forge partnerships that will benefit all our people. Let us expound on specific ways that we can leverage ICTs and work together to transform our continent during this interaction.”
President Ali Bongo said African leaders have a vision and a resolution to implement and that though Africa has many priorities, ICT is now the top priority as it can make Africa take the biggest jump into the twenty first century.
“ICT makes information not only available but also affordable, and presents opportunities, among them e-government, e-education, e-health. I think the starting point should be education, if we are to transform the lives of Africans. That’s why in my point of view, the One Laptop per Child program is very important and should be extended to all African countries and made one of the priorities of the African union.”
President Salva Kiir Mayardit spoke of investment opportunities in South Sudan which is the newest nation in Africa, would strive to work with others in the endeavor to transform the lives of the people of South Sudan.
Presidents Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta of Mali underscored the importance of Africans embracing ICT as a tool for transformation of their lives and the significance of the south-south cooperation in enhancing this commitment.
President Blaise Compaore of Burkinafaso said the African continent has come a long way, overcoming many challenges like slavery and colonialism and Africans are aiming at transformation. He emphasized that laying ICT infrastructure was key in transforming the lives of Africans in this era, and that looking at the enthusiasm and will of African leaders like President Kagame, this transformation was possible.
President Uhuru Kenyatta congratulated Rwanda for the tremendous advancement in the ICT sector and said:
“The true and single driver that will propel us from a developing to a developed world in the shortest time possible is to recognize that the railway lines and seaways of yesterday, is broadband today. Broadband gives us the ability to leapfrog and catch up with the rest of the world. Broadband gives us the capacity to bring minds, innovation and create opportunity for our people. Africa is full of young minds craving and looking for opportunity and broadband is one way of creating a vast new world for young people and propelling Africa to prosperity.”
President Museveni said for ICT to be useful to people, it has to be relevant to their lives:
“ICT must help Agriculture and other fundamental sectors like industry and services for it to be a relevant tool. ICT is not only a facilitator but also a sector in itself. If we have to avoid problems, we have to integrate ICT in the entire economy, because making it a standalone sector would lead to problems.”
Dr. Hamadoun Toure, the Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) pointed out that only Africans can transform Africa and that this is what the Transform Africa Summit was about.
“The leaders here today dared to dream, shared their dreams with their people and it became a vision. It is time to move from mobile revolution to broadband revolution.”
Jean Philippe Prosper Vice President of the International Finance Corporation for Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean said IFC was committed to partnering with Africa to invest in ICT as one of the key economic drivers. He cited ICT as one of the reasons for Rwanda’s latest ranking by the World Bank as one of the best places to do business after emerging 32nd in the world and 2nd in Africa.
Lee Suk-chae, Chairman of KT, said Africa needed to embrace ICT in order to catch up with the rest of the world in development. Lee launched the 4GLTE network in Rwanda, the first place it has been launched in the region.
In 2007, Rwanda and the ITU hosted “Connect Africa”, a conference that aimed to champion broadband connectivity. The Transform Africa Conference aims to bring together all stakeholders to answer key questions on where Africa is today in regard to resolutions set during Connect Africa in 2007 and how Africa can leverage broadband to transform communities, governments and the private sector.