KIGALI - Ten African Heads of State are expected to attend the forthcoming information communication technology summit due in Kigali this weekend. The State Minister for Energy and Telecommunication, Eng. Albert Butare, confirmed ten presidents and one vice president will jet on Sunday, October 28.
“We are expecting about ten heads of states but we also think they can exceed,” Butare said last week.
The expected foreign presidents are Mali’s Amadou Toumani Toure, Bingu Wa Mutharika of Malawi, Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Tanzania’s Jakaya Kiwkwete, Ismail Omar Guelleh of Djibouti, Senegal’s Abdoulaye Wade, Burkina Faso’s Blaise Compaoré, Burundian Pierre Nkurunziza and Gambia’s Yahya AJJ Jammeh.
Comoros vice President Idi Nidhom will represent the Head of State.
ICT ministers will hold a meeting from Friday to Saturday to discuss a paper to present to the Heads of State meeting.
The summit will have a practical, results-oriented format, including interactive, multi-stakeholder panel discussions, partnership announcements, as well as opportunities for participants to showcase their ICT development projects to potential partners and donors.
It will also provide a networking platform for leaders from the public, private and financial sectors to meet and forge new partnerships for the future.
Participants will examine key success factors for ICT investment and development and identify areas for collaboration to expand broadband backbone infrastructure and access networks, using innovative business and financing models like infrastructure-sharing and demand aggregation among local and regional institutions.
This new infrastructure investment includes national and regional interconnectivity initiatives, such as Internet exchange points and rural connectivity projects, according to a statement released by organisers.
Butare said the objective of the summit is to provide high speed and low-cost connectivity to all regions of the continent in the next few years.
He, however, said that the initiative doesn’t hamper other developmental efforts or substitute them but, ‘they are symbiotic.’
Participants will also discuss developing locally-relevant ICT contents, applications and services and broaden efforts to develop an enabling policy and regulatory environment for investment, including harmonisation across regions and sub-regions.
The summit named,” Connect Africa”, has been preceded by several months of preparations between the partners, including an analysis of the current situation and requirements, an assessment of constraints and an elaboration of policy options to promote private sector investment.
Specific project proposals for funding will be presented to potential partners and donors.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has given his full support to this initiative, spearheaded by International Telecommunication Union and the Global Alliance for ICT and Development (GAID).
About 500 participants, including ministers from Africa and other regions, CEOs and senior executives of global and African ICT companies, heads of international and regional NGOs and financial institutions will attend.
International and local media as well as other stakeholders are expected.