Eight heads of state for crucial Africa ICT meet

Eight African presidents are expected to take part in the Transform Africa Summit, a four-day conference in Kigali that seeks to spearhead broadband connectivity in the continent.
Nsengimana (C) chats with youths at an ICT hub in Kigali. The New Times/ File.
Nsengimana (C) chats with youths at an ICT hub in Kigali. The New Times/ File.

Eight African presidents are expected to take part in the Transform Africa Summit, a four-day conference in Kigali that seeks to spearhead broadband connectivity in the continent.

The meeting, taking place six years after Kigali hosted the Connect Africa Summit, will be co-hosted by President Paul Kagame and Dr Hamadoun I. Toure, the secretary-general of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

The presidents expected to attend the high-level conference include Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, Salva Kiir of South Sudan, Gabon’s Ali Bongo Ondimba, Thomas Boni Yayi of Benin and Burkina Faso’s Blaise Compaore.

The Summit opens today but the Heads of State and Government session is scheduled for tomorrow.

The broadband factor

More than 15 other African countries will also be taking part in the Summit at Kigali Serena Hotel that organisers said has attracted more than 1,500 delegates.

The Summit, under the theme, “The Future Delivered Today,” will devise ways on how Africa can leverage broadband to transform communities, governments and the private sector.

“This conference will partly discuss all possible ways of fast tracking economic development on the African continent through the use of ICTs,” the Minister of Youth and ICT, Jean Philbert Nsengiyumva, told The New Times yesterday.

Nsengimana said high-profile and globally-recognised technological corporations are also well represented in the Summit.

The Summit will as well assess the resolutions drawn during the 2007 Connect Africa Summit and offer a platform for dialogue between governments and the private sector on technologies for socio-economic transformation opportunities for Africa.

The conference is also expected to award exemplary individuals and companies that are excelling in using technology to drive socio-economic transformation.

The Summit is expected to feature five key interactive sessions that include leaders’ forum, youth innovation extravaganza, exhibition, Smart Africa conference and the awarding ceremony. 

The IT stakes

Last year, the United Nations-backed ITU’s report ranked Rwanda among top 10 countries in the continent with active mobile-broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants.

ITU estimates that 95 per cent broadband penetration will translate into a 10 to 13 per cent boost in Growth Domestic Product growth for Rwanda.

Earlier this year, the 2013 Networked Readiness Index by World Economic Forum (Wef) and European Institute of Business Administration (INSEAD) ranked Rwanda among the top 10 countries in Africa that are in good position to benefit from new ICTs.

Rwanda is set to roll out a high-speed 4G broadband network that delivers download speed of up to 100 Megabytes per second.

The 4G LTE broadband is expected to be launched at this summit.

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