Experts in Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) from across Africa and beyond are set to convene in the Rwandan capital Kigali next month to discuss the transformation of Africa using the power of technology.

Rwanda will host the third Transform Africa Summit 2017, from 10th-12th May, that will primarily focus on developing smart cities in Africa using the power of ICT. Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Jean Philbert Nsengimana, Rwanda minister of youth and ICT said that Rwanda’s spearheading the smart cities agenda in Africa was a reason why the country has been chosen to host the high level technology summit for a third time. “We are expecting to host close to 3,000 delegates from African countries under Smart Africa Initiative and over 300 mayors of cities across Africa to showcase the components of a smart city. We believe that economic transformation of our continent must be driven by the ambition of using the power of technology to increase access to markets and information for business,” he noted.

Nsengimana said that the forum will include different side events such as Smart Women Summit, Africa Smart Cities’ forum while the youth will be given platform to pitch their ideas to potential technology investors. The smart cities initiative, which aims at leveraging technology solutions to improve efficiency of cities, is backed by 11 African countries while more nations are expected to join. Presently, member countries include; Ivory Coast, Gabon, Kenya, Mali, Uganda, Senegal, South Sudan, Chad, Angola, Rwanda and Burkina Faso.The Smart Africa initiative has since set out to reduce call rates among member countries by implementing the One Africa Network. “As technology drives mobility and connectivity in urbanized societies, African cities continuously seek to establish new infrastructure and city systems that will enable transition, and position them as global leaders and next generation cities,” said Hamadoun Touré, executive director, Smart Africa Initiative.

The initiative targets to build partnerships with governments, academia, and private sector to increase its relevance in the ICT ecosystem, according to Smart Africa Initiative authority. The conference will gather heads of states from several African countries, heads of Smart Africa organizations, delegates from UN Broadband Commission on digital Development, technology chief executives, technology experts and young innovators from a cross Africa and beyond. Rwanda, which hosted Transform Africa Summit in 2013 and 2015, is among a few countries in Africa that have rolled out a high-speed 4G broadband network that delivers download speed of up to 100 Megabytes per second.

Source: Xinhua/