He said he believed it has always been Africa’s day and it was up to Africans to seize the day and make their aspirations a reality.
This year’s theme was dubbed ‘Digitalizing Rwanda’, aimed at stimulating the debate on how Rwanda and Africa at large can leverage ICT to accelerate economic growth and competitiveness.
It was noted that digital innovation has leveled the playing field, making it easy for anyone from anywhere to compete in the global economy.
Kagame said digital innovation means ideas do not have borders and therefore countries cannot be landlocked.
“Africa is making good progress and therefore we should not take things for granted but continue working hard with an aim of crossing borders while benefiting others and from others to achieve much better progress,” Kagame said.
This was backed up by the soon to leave secretary general of International Telecommunications Union Hamadoun Toure who said Africa was catching up with the rest of the world in ICT.
“We have the right resources, the younger generation who we believe in, and a framework that was established and detailed in the Smart Africa Manifesto and this will contribute to transformation of the continent,” Toure said.
He said we were in an information society and therefore we needed to push through to the knowledge phase and exploit those real opportunities that exist, start doing things differently so that we can unlock the path to exponential growth.
The importance of ICT in boosting national GDP was looked at and in Rwanda; ICT has contributed 2% for the last two quarters far ahead of agriculture and mining.
It is believed that ICT contribution to GDP in Africa is growing at 1.1% on average which gives hope that this will surely help the continent achieve development just like others.
According to statistics, 10% increase in broadband penetration will generate about 1% increase in a country’s GDP and this is why digital innovation is currently of importance in all African countries.
By Agnes Bateta, Sunday, October 19th, 2014