6 January 2016

Africa: Smart Africa Secretariat Opens in Kigali This Week

Smart Africa headquarters is expected to be opened in Kigali this week, with officials saying preparations for the opening are in the final stages.

Rwanda was selected to host the Smart Africa Alliance secretariat having demonstrated commitment as a leader in information and communications technology promotion.

Dr Hamadoun Touré, the executive director of Smart Africa, is expected to arrive in the country this week to officially begin his term in office.

Dr Toure, the former secretary-general of the International Telecommunications Union, was appointed to the position in October last year at a Smart Africa Alliance board meeting chaired by President Paul Kagame on the sidelines of Transform Africa 2015 summit.

The Smart Africa alliance comprises several African countries and institutions committed to promote information communication and technology as a driver for socio-economic growth.

Toure's role will be to lead the initiative whose major role is to accelerate sustainable socio-economic development on the continent, ushering Africa into a knowledge economy through usage of ICTs.

On his Arrival in the country, the Malian will put together a core team who will be involved in running the daily operations and activities of the initiative, according to the Minister for Youth and ICT, Jean Philbert Nsengimana.

In an interview with The New Times on Monday, Nsengimana said the government was in the final stages of acquiring office space for the secretariat's headquarters prior to Dr Toure's arrival in the country.

The secretariat will be guided by the Smart Africa Manifesto - adopted during the inaugural Transform Africa summit in 2013 - that is hinged on five pillars; Policy, Access, E-government, Private sector/Entrepreneurship and Sustainable development.

Among the targets spelled out in the manifesto is to put ICT at the centre of national socio-economic development agenda, improve access to ICTs especially broadband, improve accountability, efficiency and openness through ICT to put the private sector first, and leverage ICT to promote sustainable development.

Ideals of Smart Africa

Smart Africa has multiple initiatives ranging from ICT industry development, SMART cities, youth innovation and job creation, digital economy, green economy to digital literacy.

The secretariat will also lead the pursuit of goals set out during last year's Transform Africa summit, that include an ambitious commitment to mobilise over $300 billion worth of investments in ICT sector on the continent by 2020.

The private sector has already begun working toward the target with several initiatives being rolled out. Among them is a move by Liquid Sea, a subsidiary of Liquid Telecom, to build a new subsea cable linking Africa to the Middle East with eventual connectivity to Europe.

The undersea cable will run about 10,000 kilometres from South Africa to the Middle East and will be connected to Liquid Telecom's pan-African terrestrial network, enabling a reliable and affordable international connectivity service to landlocked and coastal countries in Eastern, Central and Southern Africa.

Sam Nkusi, the group executive in East Africa and in charge of Subsea Investments, told The New Times that the move aims at fulfilling 'a decade old quiet revolution' whereby Africa should be linked to the global digital economy with reliable , affordable and ultra fast connectivity.

"Answering Transform Africa Summit's call and in line with Smart Africa Initiative to usher Africa into the Global Digital Economy, Liquid Sea is a new private sector funded submarine cable providing a reliable and alternative link for landlocked, Southern, Central and East African countries to the world," Nkusi said.

Another initiative by the private sector toward the fulfillment of the targets set in the manifesto is the partnership of 15 local investors to form a wholesale distribution outlet for gadgets and electronics manufactured in the country by Positivo BGH.

Local entrepreneurs and investors in the ICT sector have partnered to form a wholesale distribution outlet of gadgets and electronics manufactured in the country.

The investment company constituted of about 15 local entrepreneurs and investors, Africa Smart Investment Distributions, is involved in the distribution of devices produced by the Latin American firm with a presence in Rwanda.

Africa

Two More Armed Groups Agree to End Use of Child Soldiers

A humanitarian group says its work of persuading armed groups to stop the recruitment of child soldiers is making slow,… Read more »

Copyright © 2016 The New Times. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 1,000 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.