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The New Times – Rwanda
Whenever an international conference takes place in Kigali, visitors go back with a piece of Rwanda with them.
Many come with wrong conceptions, are apprehensive and are only reassured after landing and interacting with Kigalians and, surprisingly, discover a haven of peace, not the stereotype of genocide.
The orderliness and amazing organisation far outstrips the African narrative of dirty streets and sprawling slums. No, Rwanda is not a “miracle”; it is a result of foresightedness and determination.
Kigali is again teeming with thousands of visitors attending the fifth edition of Transform Africa Summit that has turned into a signature get-together for international tech experts and helps stamp Rwanda’s new status as a technological hub.
This summit should not be an exclusive tech affair; it should rope in other sectors in the country as well. It is a great market place for our products, a platform to display our culture and hospitality.
The crime-free atmosphere should be milked to full capacity with service providers coming up with new packages and attractions to share a piece of the pie that the over 4,000 visitors will come with.
But it is surprising that the presence of such a large number of visitors is not causing a buzz in the business community – except hospitality industries – unless they elected to display their products at the summit.
People should learn how to attract customers such as having special discounts for delegates, but unfortunately, most are sleeping on the job. They should simply visit Rwanda Convention Bureau or the local media websites to see a calendar of upcoming events and package their wares accordingly, otherwise, the train will leave without them.
The New Times – Rwanda
By: Edouard Ngirente
As you are aware, the Economic Forum of the Transform Africa Summit originates from the desire for African governments and the private sector to create a single continent-wide digital market. This market will enable Africa to fully benefit from the digital transformation, attract large scale investments and create jobs.
Africa has the fastest growing youth population with more 140 million young people now than a decade ago. By 2028, the African continent will be hosting almost one billion people under the age of 25. This young population presents an opportunity to optimize the adoption of technologies as the younger generation is eager to embrace the digital era.
This is where we see the value for start-ups which play, globally, a significant role in economic development. Across the world, start-ups are currently being championed by the youth who are actively creating jobs and transforming their communities. They bring new ideas to the table, much needed to stimulate innovation and generate competition.
Technology is very important. It offers an opportunity to realise the integration of the continent faster and smarter. In addition, technology breaks the usual borders that have traditionally defined our countries.
Because of this importance, the Government of Rwanda, through our National Strategy for Transformation, 2017-2024, aims at ensuring digital literacy for all youth, especially 16 to 30 years, by 2024. This will be possible by implementing a national digital literacy program. This program has the objective of achieving digital literacy of at least 60% among adults by 2024.
For this reason, discussions which will take place today are timely and crucial. But beyond conversations, the collaboration and partnerships carry the potential to change the course of the history of our continent.
I would like to urge all participants to this Economic Forum to use their expertise and advise our continent on how we can accelerate sustainable socio-economic transformation and increase entrepreneurship to drive growth, reduce poverty and create wealth. I am sure your deliberations will be full of ideas that will be discussed in the 2019 Transform Africa that will be officially opened tomorrow.
I would like to highlight that today Smart Africa enjoys a strong political will to change what has been the status quo for a long time. In this regard, I wish to reiterate the commitment of the Government of Rwanda to the realisation of Smart Africa’s vision.