Despite a remarkable growth in the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in Africa, more investments in the sector are needed for improved and sustainable services.
This was highlighted at the start of the three-day ‘3rd annual African e-government Forum 2009’ that is taking place in Kigali since yesterday.
Delegates at the conference maintained that the use of telecommunications is progressing on the African continent but called for more initiatives to promote it.
“Challenges remain regarding acquiring skills that are needed in using and managing ICT infrastructure,” said Rwanda’s Prime Minister, Bernard Makuza, as he officiated at the opening of the conference. He called for improved national ICT network and strong regulation mechanisms to ensure good services.
The meeting attracted officials in charge of governments’ IT projects on the continent, heads of e-government projects, civil society leaders and representatives from IT organisations and companies.
“This meeting’s outcome should be a call for action,” Makuza urged over 180 delegates at the meeting.
The forum was jointly organised by the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO) and the President’s Office in Kigali.
e-Government, which is the use by government agencies of information technologies such as Wide Area Networks, the internet, and mobile computing in the day-to-day running of the country, continues to be seen as vital.
“It will dramatically change the way we do business,” says Prof. Romain Murenzi, Minister in the President’s Office in Charge of ICT.
While experts assert that costs for internet communications remain among major challenges in the e-governance process, they also state that a solution can be found in encouraging competition among providers of ICT services.
This has been happening on the continent, but more and more initiatives are needed in order to overcome even the remaining barriers.
“We need to move so fast,” said Dr. Okwow Spio-Garbrah, CTO’s Chief executive Officer.
He called for improved partnerships between governments, members of the private sector, and the ordinary peoples in order to improve e-governance.