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Africa: President Kagame Urges Investments in Girls and ICT to Sustain Africa's Growth At World Economic Forum
Source: Government of Rwanda (Kigali)
Source Date: Monday, January 27, 2014
Focus: Electronic and Mobile Government, ICT for MDGs, Knowledge Management in Government, Citizen Engagement, Institution and HR Management, Internet Governance
Country: Rwanda
Created: Jan 28, 2014

Over the past week, President Paul Kagame shared Rwanda's story of overcoming challenges by having a specific plan to overcome them at the World Economic Forum held in Davos, Switzerland.

"We have a vision based on identifying our challenges, having plans to address them and focusing on activities that will benefit our people," President Kagame told a business breakfast hosted by former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Marc Holtzman.

At a MDGs (Millennium Development Goals) special event calling for increased investment in Girl's Empowerement, President Kagame, who serves as co-chair MDGs Advocates Group, joined United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon as well as the new co-chair Norway Prime Minister Erna Solberg to discuss the importance of investing in girls.

"Investing in girl's empowerment calls for increased investment in the good health of the girl child as we do for the boys, so that they all grow into balanced human beings with equal opportunities to realise any aspirations they choose to follow in life," said President Kagame.

With a little over 700 days left before the MDGs deadline, Rwanda is currently on track to achieve all the MDGs, all this because of a policy of leaving no one behind.

Speaking on the wider implications for Africa, President Kagame at event entitled "Germany meets Africa", said that Africa is not a charity case.

"Each individual country in Africa is reforming. We are working to create the better future Africans deserve and leave the image we have come to be known for behind us. The belief in Rwanda is that there are no insurmountable challenges. With hard work we can succeed together as a continent. We need to change the perception that Africa is a place where people go to help, do good and sympathise. This will only change if both sides do the right thing to make sure that everyone is a winner," said President Kagame.

President Kagame added that investing in Africa led to results that go beyond monetary profits. "The return on investments made in Africa is not just good in terms of numbers. You make an impact on the ground and change people's lives. In the near future we see Africa standing on its own feet and taking its rightful place."

On practical ways to sustain Rwanda and Africa's progress, President Kagame emphasised the need to invest in ICT at a discussion organised International Telecommunications Union and the Azerbaijan Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies.

"People used to think that broadband is meant for a few people and cannot be accessed by the majority. We have found that with the right investments, we can make it accessible and affordable. People are now able to use ICT for health, education and to access markets for their agricultural products. The results speak for themselves in every part of Africa."

Reminding those present that ICT must be part of a wider context that includes good governance, President Kagame discussed the role of ICT in ensuring that citizens have access to information.

"My hope is built on one thing: giving the majority of our people ICT tools means they will be able to face their challenges," said President Kagame.

President Kagame also added that broadband is an opportunity to share knowledge in a mutually beneficial manner given that globalisation meant that no part of the world has a monopoly of knowledge or best practices.

In a final panel on emerging markets, President Kagame emphasised that in Africa, intra-African trade continued to grow and this meant Africa was ripe for investment.

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