The private sector should invest more in the information communication technology (ICT) industry to increase Africa's connectivity that will help transform the continent, create jobs and reduce poverty.
Dr. Hamadou Toure, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) secretary general, said the increased investment in the ICT sector by the private sector will play a major role in reducing poverty on the continent.
"Why should Africa depend on donations and foreign aid? What the continent needs is a private sector that will invest on the continent to create jobs, increase household incomes and assist in skills development, not foreign aid," Hamadou said while addressing delegates during the ongoing Transform Africa Summit in Kigali on Monday.
Andrew Rugege, the International Telecommunications Union regional director for Africa, advised small-and-medium enterprises to embrace ICT to be able to make sustainable profits and grow into big entities.
"Adapting new technologies in business operations makes it possible for enterprises to enhance their competitiveness, locally and on the international scene. Therefore, if Africa attracts more private sector investments into the ICT sector, this becomes a reality," he said.
Rugege stressed that governments' role was to ensure a conducive business environment, especially laws that support the private sector, and not to do business.
"With governments enacting enabling laws, the private sector with thrive. But it is always good for countries to open doors for public-private partnerships because they are essential if African economies are to flourish," he argued.
Gabriel Solomon, the head of public policy at GSMA London, said the private sector, especially firms involved in international trade, stand to benefit from increased efficiency in doing business if they embraced ICT.
"Goods are delayed at customs offices or in warehouses because of lack of a more efficient technology to conduct business," he noted.
Amb. Valentine Sendanyoye Rugwabiza, the Rwanda Development Board chief executive officer, urged the private sector to focus on value-addition to enhance the continent's competitiveness.