Africa should shape her own agenda, PM Ngirente

Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente with AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina (2nd L) during the meeting. / Courtesy

Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente Wednesday morning officially opened the fourth annual general shareholders’ meeting of the Africa50, which is taking place at Kigali Convention Centre.

Africa50 is an independent entity created as an innovative financing vehicle by African Heads of State to address the chronic infrastructure deficit on the continent.

It began its operations back in 2016.

The meeting kicked off Tuesday with an Investment Forum organised in partnership with the Rwanda Development Board (RDB).

The forum focused on innovation.

“As a continent we need to create, shape and own our agenda when it comes to innovation and technology, among others,” the Premier argued the participants as he officially opened the meeting.

“This journey will require us to invest across multiple dimensions, from connectivity in rural and urban areas to digital literacy to increase adoption and to prepare our young people to be successful in a digital world,” he added.

He highlighted that Rwanda started with laying the foundation by investing in infrastructure that led to 95 per cent country fibre network coverage.

“With the infrastructure in place, we look to digitise our services, connecting Government to citizens through online services to improve services delivery. Today, we have over 90 services online on our platform called Irembo,” he noted.

Ngirente indicated that the country was now looking at universal digital literacy of young Rwandans by 2024 as well as capitalising on innovation and technology to develop economy and reduce poverty.

Investments like this, however, he said, always require a lot of resources, and that there was a need of collaboration and partnerships between governments, private sector and other partners.

“Africa50 has been a great example, stepping in to partner with Rwanda to invest in Kigali Innovation City, our flagship project, to accelerate our innovation ecosystem,” he premier noted.

Rwanda and Africa50 entered deal last year to help develop and finance the real estate portion of the Kigali Innovation City. It is expected that the firm would invest about $400 million in the project.

The Prime Minister also applauded the African Development Bank, one of the shareholders of Africa50, for having been a great partner of Rwanda in areas of ICT, education and innovation, saying that it demonstrates that the era “we live in requires partnership and collaboration with the private sector and our citizens.”

The general shareholders’ meeting is bringing together ministers of finance from the 27 shareholder countries and representatives of other shareholders, the African Development Bank, the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO) and Bank Al-Maghrib.