from PHYLLIS BIRORI in Kigali, Rwanda
KIGALI – AFRICAN countries must empower the continent’s tech-savvy youth and prevent the loss of such personnel to countries abroad, Rwanda President, Paul Kagame, has said.
He was speaking at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) Africa in the capital Kigali.
“Africa is home to creative and tech-savvy youth, looking for the right platform to contribute solutions,” Kagame said, delivering the opening keynote.
“We cannot afford to reduce them to a statistic only, or sit idly by, as they seek opportunity outside of Africa,” the president advised.
“Our young people have a lot to offer. We must do our part and keep our promise to them.”
Kagame said to leave no one behind, governments must create a more enabling legal and regulatory environment.
He said government must recognise that digital transformation is not a “zero-sum game” where progress comes at the expense of the most vulnerable.
“Not at all,” Kagame emphasized.
“Everyone, regardless of status, gender, or nationality, must benefit if we want to create lasting change.”
GSMA (or Global System for Mobile Communications) organized the MWC Africa, which runs until Thursday.
Rwanda is an apt host, as Africa’s technology hub, hailed as the Silicon Valley of Africa.
Kagame is described as the “Digital President.”
Rwanda is lauded for retaining its brightest talents and simultaneously attracting international talent. It tops the list of African countries able to retain their top talent.
GSMA MWC Africa brings together industry sectors, business leaders and policymakers with the region’s mobile ecosystem to discuss the continent’s ambition to enhance the power of connectivity.
The event also marks the release of the Mobile Economy Sub-Saharan Africa 2022 report which establishes that closing the mobile internet usage gap is crucial to realising the potential of mobile connectivity, with 5G-related activities beginning to pick up across the region.
“Africa stands at a unique moment in time,” said Mats Granryd, Director General, GSMA.
According to GSMA, today, 46 percent of the population is connected and subscribed to mobile services, rising to 50cpercent by 2025.
In 2021, mobile technologies and services generated around 8 percent of GDP across Sub-Saharan Africa, supporting 3,2 million jobs across the region.
“To continue the momentum and create more jobs and foster inclusion and reduce inequality, we have to ensure that everyone has access to connectivity and can benefit from all it offers,” Granryd said.
GSMA anticipates attendees from nearly 90 countries.
There are more than 60 speakers, 45 percent female.
“At MWC Africa, we will examine the urgency to bridge the digital divide for building inclusive, sustainable societies across Africa,” said Angela Wamola, GSMA Head of Sub-Saharan Africa.
– CAJ News