Paula Ingabire, Minister of ICT and Innovation, said that efficient measures are needed to address internet usage gap in Africa. Despite investments made, the minister said this issue should be a priority for discussion during the upcoming Mobile World Congress 2022. The Internet usage gap is simply put as the number of people who can’t use mobile internet services while living in an area covered by broadband networks. “When you look at the global statistics about coverage and usage (of internet) , what is very clear is that Africa and most of the other developing countries are the ones lagging behind when it comes to the usage gap,” said Ingabire during a Twitter Space event. Referring to the yet-to-be-launched Mobile Economy report 2023, Ingabire pointed out that while 40 per cent of the adult population in Sub-Saharan Africa is connected to mobile internet services, 44 per cent of people living in areas covered by broadband networks do not use internet services. “The conversations (in the MWC summit) will look at the root causes hindering people from benefiting from the numerous investments that have already been made to expand network connectivity.” Rwanda will host the MWC 2022, the first of its kind in Africa, from October 25 to 27, convening global mobile operators, device manufacturers, technology providers, vendors and content owners, policymakers, and more. At least 2000 people are expected in Kigali for the congress organised by the Global System for Mobile Communications Association (GSMA) representing more than 55 countries across the globe. Ingabire explained that Rwanda applied to host the GSMA Africa events for three consecutive summits, starting with one hosted virtually in 2021. This means that Rwanda will be the host until 2023. “The events focus on driving conversations sharing best practices, trends and development in the global mobile industry, and announcement of major partnerships as well as new technologies on the market,” she said. Obinna Ukwani, Chief Digital Officer at Bank of Kigali, said that besides showcasing digital innovations available in the country, the event will present an opportunity to network and learn from different key players in the industry about any new initiative they need to be aware of and integrate to deliver better services. “We believe that mobile connectivity is really going to be a critical driver for economic and social development in Rwanda, and we want to use the opportunity to showcase the innovations and solutions to stimulate the catalytic effect that is required to unlock the growth driven by technology,” said Mapula Bodibe, CEO of MTN Rwanda. Emmanuel Andre Hamez, CEO of Airtel Rwanda, said it’s “extremely refreshing” to have the world come to Africa and remove any prejudice. “But I think and hope that some will see the opportunities that Africans can offer. I am still very frustrated that most of the traffic that we have on the internet is going outside Africa because of lack of platforms. “If you want to make a call from one person to another, it would have to go through the US, he said, “I don’t think this is a normal situation. Investment should be made and stay in Africa.” Telco players in Rwanda said they look forward to showcasing some of the major strides made in driving connectivity across the country, especially with the new mobile payment interoperability.