Rwanda will in May this year host the first ever Africa regional Internet and development summit in Kigali. The conference is being organised by Internet Society, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), and the government.
Internet Society is a non-profit organisation dedicated to ensuring the open development, evolution, and use of the Internet.
The two-day summit, slated for May 8-9, will attract stakeholders in Internet access including government and inter-governmental organisation officials, and business and educational leaders from across the continent, organisers said last week.
The meeting will seek to identify synergies and create opportunities for co-ordination and collaboration to use the Internet to advance education, innovation and job creation.
Dawit Bekele, the Internet Society regional bureau director for Africa, said the forum will deliberate on what the continent can benefit from the opportunities brought about by the internet.
“One of the key topics of discussion will be on what needs to be done for Africa to benefit from the transformational opportunities of the Internet for the benefit of the African economy and education. While there are many challenges, we know it can be done,” he said. “Countries such as Kenya and Rwanda have created policy environments that enable innovation and they are now seeing the benefits of the Internet economy. Universities throughout the continent are also using e-learning opportunities to increase their reach as well as to give flexibility for their students,” he said.
The summit will come ahead of the Transform Africa Summit which is scheduled for May 10-12.
Jean Philbert Nsengimana, the Minister for Youth and ICT, said even with the progress in digital transformation, there are still many opportunities for growth through the partnerships.
“Africa is on an unstoppable move toward digital transformation. However, the room for increasing speed and impact is limitless. This can only be achieved if we are able to harness effectively the power of partnerships,” the Minister said.
“We, therefore, are pleased to co-host this dialogue which is a great platform for advanced partnerships ahead of the Transform Africa Summit that Rwanda will host from May 10-12,” he added.
The conference is part of a global series of Internet development gatherings organised by the Internet Society with the aim of furthering the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) that aim at tackling the world’s main development challenges by 2030.