(Agence Ecofin) – On the sidelines of the African Union (AU) summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, a meeting of the board of directors of the Smart Africa alliance was held on January 31, 2017. During this meeting of African nations who have in common the desire to boost their economic growth through information and communication technologies, Paul Kagamé (photo), the Rwandan president, also president of the Smart Africa alliance , called on his counterparts to do everything possible to make access to ICT a reality in their countries.
For the Rwandan head of state, the transformational potential of ICTs that all the major consultancies and other international institutions see in Africa must translate into concrete benefits for the populations. With a world that is digitizing at high speed, Paul Kagame believes that Africa’s challenge is to catch up by providing its populations with access to universal broadband. The continent must therefore make efforts to “succeed in making African homes, offices, schools and cities smart.” We must harness the opportunities of exponential technologies, including artificial intelligence, robotics, drones, big data, blockchains and 3D printing, ”he argued.
Until the ICT infrastructure is fully available to initiate economic development in Africa, the Smart Africa alliance has already set up initiatives that will contribute to the training of future generations who will operate in the 2.0 world. A scholarship fund has been launched. Thanks to contributions from Burkina Faso, Gabon, Mali, Rwanda, South Sudan and the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), more than $ 1.1 million has already been raised.
The alliance also facilitated the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Carnegie Mellon University in Rwanda and the Multi-national Higher School of Telecommunications in Senegal, to increase ICT skills in the region.