On the second day of Transform Africa Summit 2017, Heads of State and senior government officials exchanged on how Africa can leverage technology to accelerate its socio-economic transformation, deliver wealth and prosperity for its citizens.
A leaders’ panel highlighted an urgent need to fast track Africa’s digital transformation while at the same time showcasing how ICTs are being used in various sectors, yielding better and faster results.
The leaders addressed various dimensions including: understanding the current landscape, gaps and opportunities, promoting investment and partnership opportunities to accelerate the outcomes and local and global solutions to achieve self-reliance and economic freedom.
Leaders on the panel included: President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta of Mali, President Ismaïl Omar Guelleh of Djibouti, President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger, Prime Minister Patrice Trovoada of São Tomé and Príncipe, Vice President Inonge Wina of Zambia, as well as Prime Ministers Emmanuel Issoze-Ngondet of Gabon and Francisco Pascual Eyegue Obama Asue of Equatorial Guinea.
During the exchange, Heads of State agree unanimously on the fact that Africa needs more than ever to embrace the use of ICT to provide solutions to challenges in various sectors.
“In Mali, ICTs have supported many developments in various sectors like telemedicine. Thanks to technology, populations in remote areas are accessing quality health services,” President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta of Mali said. He further added that technology would help leaders across Africa build a more dignified continent.
Prime Minister Patrice Trovoada of Sao Tome and Principe urged African governments to invest more in public-private partnerships to mobilise funding towards availing ICT infrastructure for technology to prosper.
Speaking on gender inclusiveness in ICT, President Kagame stressed that politics needs to lay foundation for no one to be left behind as Africa embraces digital transformation.
“The gap can’t be bridged by technology. It is the politics that provide inclusiveness of both men and women equally. Only with no one left behind can we be sure that we are rightly advancing towards achieving digital transformation.”
“Women inclusiveness is a critical factor in the process of digital transformation. We should never forget that half of our population are women and girls who should be taken into consideration at all levels of the continent’s digitisation,” reiterated Zambian Vice President Inonge Mutukwa Wina.
The leaders’ panel also put an emphasis on giving opportunities to the young generation to thrive.
The Heads of State and Government agreed to mobilise their peers across the continent to invest more in political will and have a common understanding on the sense of urgency needed for Africa to catch up with the rest of the world.