The Secretary General of the International Telecommunications Union ITU, Houlin Zhao has said that the growth of ICT’s in Africa remains a phenomenon that is posed to challenge other continents including the west.
Zhao cited areas where Africa has shown potential in leading the smart global drive especially the progress mobile penetration and subscription which is at a high rate in Africa and could be doubled by 2020.
“In Europe there is a Single digital mighty, in Africa single network- let’s see who moves faster. I hope Africa moves faster than Europe. Smart African is a drive for the private sector and we look forward to see this become the drive for Africa growth” Zhao said.
Zhao made the remarks at the Transform Africa Summit 2015 Launch of Global Innovation and SME platform, which was officially opened by Rwanda’s Prime Minister Hon. Anastase Murekezi
He also said that ICT’s have tremendously contributed to the transformation of the world and noted that this is the most exciting year since ICTs have played a major role in Millennium Development Goals which will be crucial in driving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s).
“Without support of ICT’s these Millennium Development Goals couldn’t be achieved. That is why I have put in my personal efforts and willingness to promote initiatives such transform Africa, which have been a driving force in effecting change in lives of people” Zhao noted.
Even with these signs of progress in ICT, Zhao decried the fact that with the exception of Rwanda, so many countries have not started implementing their ‘smart country programmes and called for others to learn from Rwanda.
Prime Minister, Murekezi also said that ICT’s have played a significant role in transforming the economies in Africa, and Rwanda in particular.
“Progress that Rwanda has made especially in connecting fiber optic to all 30 districts which increased service delivery financial inclusion and access to information. We expect the trend to grow especially with the 4G network.” Murekezi said.
Quoting President Paul Kagame on digital innovation to emphasis the importance of inclusiveness in growth of ICT as a way of transforming lives Murekezi said “Broadband is a way of life, business and it levels the filed for everyone to play and benefit”
Murekezi said that this should give everyone a stance to sustain Africa’s digital evolution but with emphasis on putting up infrastructure, devising new ways of raising numbers of people accessing technology by 2020.
“As we strive to transform Africa our priority should be on service delivery and youth empowerment so that they are at the forefront on championing Africa because ICT is the basis of transforming Africa.” He said.