One hundred ICT companies from East Africa which came up with innovative projects that have made a positive impact on people's lives are set to be rewarded in the third CIO100 Annual Symposium and Awards that started on Thursday in Kigali. The symposium will be also a great moment to share experiences and views about how ICT be an enabler of economic growth.
CIO is an organization that provides top executives in ICT with sector information and analysis (CIO stands for 'chief information officer').
During the symposium, participants will exchange ideas and experiences on how ICT can be improved in order to strengthen ICT-generated economic growth in the region and worldwide.
"Particularly for our country, we shall see how ICT can be an enabler of private business especially to achieve the EDPRS II," said Rosemary Mbabazi, the permanent secretary in the ministry of youth and ICT. "Rwanda is committed to make ICT the main tool of economic growth, therefore infrastructure such as fiber optic broadband has been built to reach this target," she said.
She added that ICT is playing an important role in transforming lives, which is the main target for ICT in achieving the Vision 2020.
Sylvie Umutesi, the CEO of M-Ahwii which is among the winners after a four-month-survey, said the awards show that their innovations are really transforming people's lives and are recognized. M-Ahwii has conceived an app to help illiterate people access ICT technology, and Umutesi observed that the tool shows that ICT projects don't need much capital investment but rather and innovative mindset.
Speaking on behalf of CIO100, director general Harry Hare said that such recognition is a way of encouraging other companies to invest more in ICT and try to be more innovative for the benefit of the population.
The annual CIO100 Third Annual Symposium and Awards is also a pre-launch of the 'Transform Africa' conference that will take place also in Kigali in October and will discuss the ICT development. This conference will be the follow-up of a 2007 conference organized by the government and the International Telecommunications Union called 'Connect Africa' which aimed at championing broadband connectivity.
PS Mbabazi explained that the 'Transforming Africa' conference will evaluate what has been achieved after 2007 and what remains to be done to increase the ICT technology.
Among 350 East African ICT companies' contestants, 100 companies emerged in the competition including 10 Rwandan ones.