15 May 2019

Africa: Heads of State Grace Transform Africa Summit

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Photo: Village Urugwiro/New Times
President Paul Kagame, and his counterparts Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya (left), and Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta of Mali pose with copies of Kenyan government’s ‘Digital Economy Blueprint’ on the first day of the 5th Transform Africa Summit in Kigali.

The President of Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta and his Malian counterpart Boubakar Keita have joined Rwandan leader Paul Kagame for the opening of the 5th Transform Africa Summit at the Kigali Convention Centre.

The three leaders are all members of the board of directors of Smart Africa, the organisers of the annual summit, which attracts top business leaders, seasoned entrepreneurs, industry captains, start-ups, political leaders, representatives of international organisations and civil society, among others.

With its secretariat in Kigali, Smart Africa seeks to transform Africa into a single digital marker and place Information and Communication Technology at the heart of the continent's socioeconomic development agenda.

The first first edition of Transform Africa Summit was held in Kigali from October 28-31 in 2013, culminating into the adoption of the Smart Africa Manifesto, which seeks to enable member states to "become more competitive, agile, open and innovative smart economies with the most favourable business climates that attract large-scale investments, reward entrepreneurship and enable fast growth and exports, leveraging ICT innovations to transform African nations into smart societies."

One of the notable participants at the two-day meeting is Sophia, the world's first robot citizen, that is expected to address the summit today. Sophia is also scheduled to be interviewed by Rwanda's Minister for ICT and Innovation, Paula Ingabire, on the second day of the summit on Thursday.

More than 4000 delegates are attending the summit, which is running under the theme, 'Boosting Africa's Digital Economy.'

An array of top brains from across the technological, artificial intelligence and entrepreneurship world will be addressing the gathering over the next two days.

The summit was preceded by the second Economic Forum of Transform Africa Summit on Tuesday.

Smart Africa is overseeing several flagship projects, including smart and innovation cities, across the African continent.

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