Rwanda is set to host another global technology forum, six years since the Connect Africa Summit, a forum aimed to spearhead broadband connectivity across the continent.
The ‘Transform Africa 2013’ summit, due on October 28, will be co-hosted by President Paul Kagame and Dr. Hamadoun I. Toure, the Secretary General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
The four-day high level event to be held under the theme, “The Future Delivered Today” will devise ways on how Africa can leverage broadband to transform communities, governments and the private sector.
It will also assess the resolutions drawn up during the 2007 Connect Africa Summit and offer a platform for dialogue between governments and the private sector on technologies for socio-economic transformation opportunities for Africa.
Andrew Rugege, ITU’s Regional Director for Africa, told The New Times that the Summit will primarily review the achievements of the 2007 Connect Africa, and discuss how broadband infrastructure and applications that followed teh summit can be leveraged to help transform Africa.
“Participants will meet, drawn together by the vision that leveraging the potential of broadband whose application extends from the village user on a hand-held device to the user on a super computer, will transform the lives of Africans,” he said.
Rugege observed that Rwanda’s reputation and leadership position in the development of ICT makes it an ideal host for such an important event.
Studies conducted by ITU, including the ‘Measuring the Information Society (MIS) report’, an annual statistical comparative study that ranks 160 countries in the world according to agreed criteria shows that Rwanda has made tremendous progress in ICT growth.
The MIS 2013 report to be launched on October 7, will contain the first complete price data collection for mobile-broadband services, a model to measure the world’s ‘digital native’ population, and an overview of digital TV broadcasting trends.
Last year, the United Nations-backed ITU’s report ranked Rwanda among top 10 countries in Africa with active mobile-broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants.
ITU estimates that 95 per cent broadband penetration will translate into a 10 to 13 per cent boost in Growth Domestic Product growth for Rwanda.
Earlier this year, the 2013 Networked Readiness Index by World Economic Forum (Wef) and European Institute of Business Administration (INSEAD) ranked Rwanda among the top 10 countries in Africa that are in good position to benefit from new ICTs.
Key interactive sessions
The global conference is expected to award exemplary individuals and companies that are excelling in using technology to drive socio-economic transformation.
The summit is expected to feature five key interactive sessions that include leaders’ forum, youth innovation extravaganza, exhibition, smart Africa conference and awards.
Rugege further said that the Transform Africa Conference, a follow-up to Connect Africa, is the first of its kind.
The ITU Regional Director for Africa added: “There are other events that have addressed ICT development in Africa, including the annual ITU Africa Regional Development Forum, which took place in Kigali last year. A number of Heads of State are expected to grace the event.”
He pointed out the African Development Bank, in partnership with the ITU and other stakeholders, conducted a review of the Connect Africa Initiative which shows great achievements in the implementation of the five goals of the initiative.
“The goals included “Connecting Africa’s capitals and major cities on broadband by 2012” and “Connecting African villages by 2015”. Rwanda has made major strides in both goals, including the eminent launch of 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) network throughout the country.”
Rwanda is among a few countries in Africa set to roll out a high-speed 4G broadband network that delivers download speed of up to 100 Megabytes per second.
Recently South Korea’s largest telecom company, Korea Telecom, entered into an agreement with Rwanda to deploy 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) broadband network across the country.
According to Jean Philbert Nsengimana, the Minister for Youth and ICT, the country is ready to host the summit and is looking forward to play its part in transforming people’s lives using the power of ICT.
“We are looking forward to get involved with a transformation agenda for Africa to achieve broadband growth that benefits every citizen,” he said.