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Africa: Tech Investments Will Drive Continent’s Future – Kagame

President Paul Kagame on Tuesday, October 21, made case for increased investment in technology, saying it will drive Africa’s transformation and the world’s future.

He was speaking at a World Economic Forum organised virtual event alongside Israel Prime, Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Colombia’s President Iván Duque.

Kagame shared Rwanda’s experience, highlighting deliberate efforts the government has taken to pave the way for financial resources into the technology sector to drive the country’s growth.

“Over the past 20 years, Rwanda has continued to prioritise investment in technology, broadband and digital skills,” he said.

While Africa has been left behind in many ways, Kagame argued that there are many problems that technology can bring solutions for.

“That’s why we prioritised investment in technology and infrastructure that supports that,” he noted.

The Head of State indicated that Rwanda’s quest to invest in technology and the need to address Africa’s challenges has seen leaders come up with broader plans for the continent – the Smart Africa Alliance.

“The Smart Africa Alliance which we have created with other countries on the continent brings together the private sector and government leaders to play a central role,” he said.

The aim, he added, is to harmonise the regulatory environments across Africa so that countries know what to expect from each other.

Kagame said Rwanda has enjoyed partnership with technology companies, highlighting the case of Zipline which has partnered with the government to deliver medical supplies to rural hospitals.

“We also have forged a partnership with the World Economic Forum to create a centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution as a proof of concept for Rwanda and the African region,” he stated.

Kagame added that Rwanda has extended partnership with countries including Israel and Singapore that have enabled the country to build technological capabilities.

“The young people have taken advantage of the opportunities and led the innovation space and entrepreneurship around that,” he said.

Creating digital skills

In the conversation, moderated by the President of the World Economic Forum Borge Brende, President Kagame insisted that investment in technology, particularly technology skills could prepare young people for the future.

“Most children entering primary schools today, we are aware, will work in jobs that do not yet exist. So the curriculum has to be flexible and future-oriented with technology skills as a priority,” he said.