President Paul Kagame said that the transformation of the African continent through ICT ought to be inclusive and serve to reduce divisions rather than widen them. The President made the remarks, yesterday, at the opening of the ongoing Transform Africa Summit at the Kigali Convention Centre.
He said that bridging the digital divide is an urgent matter.
“If technology is entrenching divides, rather than equalizing opportunity, then we are not harnessing it well,” the president said while addressing the 3rd edition of Transform Africa Summit taking place in the capital Kigali.
Kagame said that access to technology and information must also not distinguish between rich and poor, or between urban and rural people.
He said that Africa looks set to emerge as one of the planet’s great centres of growth, innovation and opportunity in future generations. But he warned the continent has to be fully connected with high speed internet to achieve this.
“Africa has to be connected, and why not at the highest possible speeds?” Kagame asked more than 3000 delegates attending 3rd edition of a 3-day Transform Africa summit.
The summit, convened at Radisson Blu and Convention Centre in the capital Kigali, seeks to launch the ‘Smart Africa’ blue print that embeds a vision of technology based African cities in the next decades.
Currently, a small percentage of Africans have access to internet and even the one available has a very low connectivity – a challenge President Kagame said, “must be regarded as an opportunity for stronger public – private collaboration.”
The President said that in Rwanda, “our partnership with Korea Telecom has already served to speed up our progress towards the broadband target.”
Through partnership with Korea Telecom, the country laid over 3,000km of a $130m Fibre optic network with 4G LTE connectivity, covering 95% of the 11 million population.
The country, through Ministry of education has also distributed more than 204,000 laptops to 407 schools countrywide as part of the ‘One Laptop per Child (OLPC)’ project – ranking Rwanda the 3rd largest deployment globally, after Peru and Uruguay.