African countries have adopted a manifesto that seeks to ensure leaders place information and communication technology at the core of national socio-economic development agenda.
The Smart Africa Manifesto, adopted at the closure of the four-day Transform Africa 2013 Summit in Kigali, yesterday, is expected to transform Africa using the power of ICT.
It places ICT at the core of socio-economic development, enhancing capacity to develop ICTs, improving accountability and transparency, putting private sector at the engine of economic transformation, and promoting cost-effective technology.
Closing the meeting, Prime Minister Pierre Damien Habumuremyi called for more commitments toward projects that will transform the continent.
He said the conference presented an excellent opportunity to meaningfully engage in high levels of dialogue to help drive innovation, create jobs and drive sustainable development in Africa.
"From this Summit, we have seen that the future can be delivered today; we must scale up our commitment toward the objectives underlined in the Manifesto. Building from the remarkable progress achieved since 2007 while leveraging broadband in our communities will drive us towards sustainable development," the premier said.
The pillars had earlier been endorsed by the seven heads of state who spoke at a panel discussion during the conference on Tuesday.
Presidents Ali Bongo Ondimba of Gabon, Blaise Compaoré of Burkina Faso, Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta (Mali), Salva Kiir Mayardit (South Sudan), Uhuru Kenyatta (Kenya), Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, and Paul Kagame of Rwanda said Africa should leverage the ICT to spur a pro-poor, sustainable growth.
The meeting was also attended by executives from Microsoft, Samsung, Facebook and IBM.
Yesterday, Dr Hamadoun Toure, the secretary-general of the International Telecommunication Union, reiterated the need to use ICTs in reducing poverty, creating prosperity while increasing productivity on the continent.
"There is need to collaborate with the private sector and fellow African countries to continuously invest in the necessary infrastructure, including cross border and regional networks," Dr. Toure said.
With the private sector in the driving seat, it is hoped that there will be more private investments to drive job creation, productivity and competitiveness.
"We must support efforts aimed at turning our continent from being largely a passive consumer to a producer of ICTs by increasing the number of local innovation hubs with the requisite business developments, financial and technological capabilities while leveraging ICT in promoting sustainable development," he added.
Technology will also need to become more cost effective and protected in order to ensure sustainable achievements, Anne Githuku, the director of Afroes South Africa, said.
The Africa Smart Manifesto will be implemented through an alliance with the African Development Bank, World Bank, ITU and the private sector.
The next Transform Africa Summit will take place in 2015.