For the better part of yesterday, organisers of Transform Africa 2015 summit made last-minute preparations in readiness for the three-day conference that begins today.
The venues, Camp Kigali and the Kigali Serena Hotel, were a beehive of activity as exhibitors put final touches on their stands.
About 2,500 delegates are taking part in the second edition of the summit, including leaders of governments, heads of international corporations from the continent and beyond, students, and practitioners in information and communication technology sector.
It has taken months of preparation and concerted efforts of stakeholders from Rwanda and beyond to organise the summit.
Under the theme, “Accelerating Digital Innovation,” the three-day conference will offer a platform for dialogue and deal-making between governments and the private sector on technology solutions and provide a space for young innovators from Africa to showcase their potential for creating home grown innovations.
Last month, the Ministry of Youth and ICT launched online platforms to allow local and foreign participants receive regular updates and conveniently perform tasks such as registration and bookings.
The process was part of the organisers’ aim to ensure that the large number of delegates is handled efficiently and that participants are in touch with organisers for questions and inquiries.
RwandAir, the national carrier, developed special packages offering delegates a 12-per cent discount.
Enterprises in the hospitality sector made it possible for delegates to easily book online ahead of their travels.
City of Kigali mayor Fidel Ndayisaba told The New Times last Friday that his office had been working closely with the private sector to ensure that services were of quality for visiting participants.
“We have been working closely with service providers to ensure that they are in position to deliver quality services to visitors,” Ndayisaba said, adding that the service sector had come of age after hosting several conferences.
The experience, the mayor, said would be reflected in the quality of service the guests would receive during their stay in the country.
Promoting ICT uptake
At the summit, products and services, including Global Innovation and SME platform that will provide Rwandan businesses with opportunity to expand their markets, will be launched.
Among the much-awaited developments is the launch of Facebook in Kinyarwanda tomorrow.
The conference features multiple panelists’ sessions on a range of topics in the ICT sector from business-related to policy deliberations.
The topics for discussion include unlocking Africa’s smart and sustainable economies, opening a competitive market, cross-border entrepreneurship in the sector, cyber resilience and security among others.
Firms also have a chance to showcase their products and services at an exhibition space.
The Minister for Youth and ICT, Jean Philbert Nsengimana, said the topics to be discussed would be centred on tracking the progress of Smart Africa, an initiative that was born from Transform Africa 2013 summit.
“Transform Africa 2013 gave birth to Smart Africa initiative that is governing ICT in Africa. This time, we want to assess progress made since the initiative was adopted, learn from our different experiences and discuss ways to accelerate the continent’s digitisation. We gather to shape Africa’s digital transformation agenda,” he said.
Members of the private sector will seek business opportunities, partnership and a chance to learn from their peers from across the continent.
Ernest Kayinamura, the chief executive of Hexakomb Ltd, the firm that developed the event management platform for Transform Africa, said it was an opportunity to showcase world class technology solutions.
The government will also strategically reach out to potential investors through panelists in the various sessions, exhibitions and business-to-business matching.
Chaired by President Kagame, the summit will feature key events such as Leaders’ Summit, Smart Africa conference, policy dialogue, YouthConnekt Africa, and an international ICT exhibition.