SIX years ago, I was honoured to cover for this newspaper, the Connect Africa Summit that brought together heads of state, major multinational ICT companies and other partners, with an aim of bridging the digital divide on the continent.
At the Kigali Serena Hotel, the venue of the summit, a makeshift media centre was fitted with a super-fast internet connection, which astonished many of my counterparts from around the continent, most of whom having been to Rwanda for the first time.
On the afternoon of the opening day, as we settled in the media centre to file our stories, a colleague, who had just filed his story, patiently waited for me to finish my work, before he accosted me as I made for the afternoon session.
After introducing himself he told me he was on the press corps that had accompanied then Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade.
Having read on my name tag, he knew I was 'local' and had a few questions for me; drawing me to a speech made earlier in the day, where one of the Presidents present had caused uproar when he said his country had 40,000 computers, both in public and private domain, and only a fraction of these had access to internet.
My colleague said that from the honesty displayed by the Head of State (who happens to be from a neighbouring country), and with the knowledge he had of this country prior to his coming, at least virtually, he did not expect to file a story from Rwanda, so he told me.
Even with this, pessimism was still written all over him, saying the internet was not the most critical thing for a continent laden with conflict, hunger and disease.
"Look at the fraction of the population on this continent who need the internet...it is for the small group of the elite and any investments in the broadband infrastructure is a wastage of time, it will not yield!" he told me.
I was a bit naive at the time, having been in journalism only a few years, with little knowledge on ICTs beyond getting enough information for my story.
Ofcourse, the conference went on and many presentations were made and the general message was commitment by governments in Africa to put in place all enablers to unlock private investments in ICT in Africa.
"This is the time when we have to own our problems, take lead in solving them and create the best environment for investors," President Paul Kagame said as he closed the meeting.
Specifically, the leaders crafted what they called a 'Triangular Commitment' with governments tasked to draw favourable policies, the investors to come up with ideas and required human resource, while the financial institutions were to finance these ventures.
For investors fearing to bet their money on the continent, the Secretary General of the International Telecommunication Union, Dr Hamadoun Toure couldn't have been any bolder at the time; "We shall go with those that are willing, but as long as we have the required policies in place, I am sure investors are always willing to make profits which are there in this case," he said.
Indeed we have seen a lot happening and, lest I forget, I did my homework and I am reliably informed that plans to roll out a fibre optic cable across the "40,000-computer nation" are in advanced stages, and the number of computers has significantly increased with more connections to the web.
Back home, the fibre optic is already in place, 'Smart Kigali' has got Kigalians accessing high-speed internet at several hotspots in the city and on public buses and, to cap it all, during Transform Africa, a high-speed (4G LTE) broadband network will be launched.
President Abdoulaye Wade is long gone, and I am not sure President Macky Sall is among the Heads of State expected to attend, and of course I do not know if my friend is still a member of the presidential press corps and would be coming for that matter-talk of long shots.
My wish is to have him back as Rwanda, after six years, hosts Transform Africa next week, and we compare notes on what Africa has achieved, more so because he would have his own story to tell because, during the 2007 Summit, his own country Senegal, together with Rwanda committed to roll out the One Laptop Per Child Programme (OLPC).
In Rwanda, over 200,000 computers have been distributed in hundreds of schools, and the crop of a tech-savvy youth that we are witnessing today will definitely come a long way in driving the transformation that this meeting seeks to achieve.
The writer is an editor at The New Times