African Heads of State and Government present at the recently concluded Transform Africa Summit 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 in generals.
Speaking on behalf of the leaders who attended the summit, Niger President Mahamadou Issoufou said that governments had agreed that no effort would be spared to achieve the objectives of the Smart Africa Alliance.
He said that the governments recognise the role of technology in achieving respective national objectives as well as the continent’s development ambitions.
“Our governments will spare no effort to ensure that Smart Africa is achieved,” he said.
President Issoufou commended President Paul Kagame and Rwanda for promoting ICT uptake and using technology as a transformative agent.
He said that his country was keen on drawing from Rwanda’s experience to advance his country’s digital transformation.
During the summit, Rwanda and Niger signed an agreement that will see them cooperate to promote Information Communication and Technology (ICT).
The three-day summit was attended by 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 among others.
The summit brought together over 4000 delegates from 80 countries, including about 300 mayors.
The summit 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 delegates 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 with Sao Tome and Principe, Tunisia, South Africa and Cameroon the latest entrants.
Zambia and Nigeria announced that they would soon join.
Among the topics that featured prominently was the possibility of having a One Area Network covering 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.
Venture capitalists also made investments commitment of about $40,000 in five local start ups during the Face the Gorillas summit.
The summit also saw eight partnership agreements signed between various parties as well as investment commitments worth about $55M.
Delegates also agreed to make the gathering an annual summit and announced that the next edition will be held in May next year.