The 5th Transform Africa Summit kicked off on Tuesday in Kigali with the 2nd Transform Africa Economic Forum, a government to business engagement with participants discussing investment opportunities and areas of collaboration.
The opening session of the economic forum dubbed start up Africa focused on how to empower youth to use digital technologies to tackle the continent’s challenges including poverty, inequality and unemployment.
Opening the forum, Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente stressed the importance of technology, saying it offers an opportunity to realize the integration of the continent faster and smarter while breaking the usual borders that have traditionally defined African countries.
Ngirente urged participants at the economic forum to use their expertise and advise the African continent on how to accelerate sustainable socioeconomic development and increase entrepreneurship to drive growth, reduce poverty and create wealth.
Noting that today Smart Africa enjoys a strong political will to change what has been the status quo for a long time, the premier reaffirmed Rwanda government’s commitment to the realization of Smart Africa’s vision to transform Africa into a single digital market.
The Rwandan government, he said, aims at ensuring digital literacy for all youth aged 16 to 30 years by 2024 because of the important role of technology.
He said this will be possible by implementing a national digital literacy program.
This program has the objective of achieving digital literacy of at least 60 percent among adults by 2024, he added.
The Transform Africa Summit, arguably the largest ICT forum on the continent runs from May 14 – 17.
This year it is convening under the theme “Boosting Africa’s Digital Economy.”
Some 4000 attendees from across countries including policy makers, regulators, young innovators and officials from public, private sectors and academia will discuss how to leverage information and communication technology to boost the continent’s economy.
Lacina Koné, Director General of Smart Africa said as the continent embarks on the Start Up Africa journey towards accelerated innovation and economic development on the continent, it is evident that start-up companies will fuel this growth.
We can make the difference individually and collectively as governments, private sectors and Africans, he said.
Paula Ingabire, the Minister of ICT and Innovation said there is a need to ensure that start-ups with genuine solutions are not suffocated by big companies.