African Heads of State and government present at the recently concluded Transform Africa Summit have pledged to advance the continent’s digital transformation.
The leaders noted that they recognize the role of ICT in fast tracking development of their countries and the continent.
Speaking on behalf of the Presidents who attended the summit, Niger President Mahamadou Issoufou said that governments had agreed that no efforts would be spared until the alliance’s objectives are achieved.
He noted that the governments recognize the role of technology in achieving respective national objectives as well as the continent’s development ambitions.
“Our governments will spare no efforts to ensure that Smart Africa is achieved,” he said.
President Issoufou commended President Paul Kagame and Rwanda for spearheading ICT uptake and using technology as a transformative agent.
He said that his country was keen on replicating lessons from Rwanda to advance his country’s digital transformation.
During the summit, Rwanda and Niger agreed on a partnership that will see them cooperate to promote Information Communication and Technology (ICT) and signed an agreement.
The agreement was signed on the sidelines of the Summit that ended in Kigali yesterday.
The three day summit was attended by eight Heads of State and government; President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta of Mali, President Ismaïl Omar Guelleh of Djibouti, President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger, Prime Minister Patrice Trovoada of São Tomé and Príncipe, Vice President Inonge Wina of Zambia, as well as Prime Ministers Emmanuel Issoze-Ngondet of Gabon and Francisco Pascual Eyegue Obama Asue of Equatorial Guinea.
The summit brought together over 4000 delegates from 80 countries including about 300 mayors.
During summit, countries adopted a smart cities’ master plan which will act as the roadmap in the development of smart cities across the continent.
The summit’s agenda included a First Ladies’ Summit during which they highlighted the need to ensure that there was gender equity in the process of ICT adoption.
The First Ladies summit ended on a high note with the adoption of The Kigali Africa Smart Women and Girls Declaration that among other things aims at increasing access, affordability and safety of technology for women and girls across the continent.
Dr. Hamadoun Toure the Executive Secretary of the Smart Africa Alliance announced that the membership had also grown from 18 to 22 as Sao Tome and Principe, Tunisia, South Africa and Cameroon joined.
Zambia and Nigeria announced that they would soon announce their membership in coming days.
Among the topics that featured prominently was the possibility of having a one area network cutting across the entire continent.
With a number of countries in East and West Africa having the One Area Network, delegates explored the chance of expanding it across the continent to reduce costs of communication.
Also during the summit, venture capitalists made investments commitment of about $40,000 in five local startups during the Face the Gorillas summit.
The summit also saw eight partnership agreements signed between various parties as well as investments commitments of about $55M.
Delegates also agreed to make the gathering an annual summit and went ahead to announce that it would be held in May next year.