Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda has urged African governments to remove bottlenecks hindering Africa’s digital transformation agenda.
Rugunda said acceleration of digital innovation requires concerted efforts of all concerned stakeholders in the innovation cycle to ensure sustainability.
He said innovation in the use of Information and communication technologies (ICTs) had fundamentally transformed the way of doing business by cutting costs and improving efficiency.
The Premier made the remarks at the second edition of Transform Africa Summit in Kigali, Rwanda on Wednesday where he represented President Yoweri Museveni.
Transform Africa 2015 was held under the theme “Accelerating Digital Innovation”
Dr Rugunda said Uganda was closely working with the private sector to establish ICT infrastructure across the country, adding that it was important to drive the knowledge economy in Africa through ICT.
“I am pleased to report that Uganda now has optic fibre cable presence at all her border points, thus enabling interconnectivity with our neighbours,” said Rugunda
He noted that liberalization of the ICT sector in Uganda had led to competition which was useful in terms of improved quality and affordable services.
Rugunda said transformation of countries and communities by improving the quality of life of the citizens through provision of quality services was the main purpose for existence of Governments.
“I would like to salute President Kagame, the government and people of Rwanda for spearheading this initiative and once again hosting this summit,” Rugunda said.
He said there was need to promote the development of indigenous and relevant solutions covering technologies, services and applications, adding that funding was critical for accelerating digital innovation.
President Paul Kagame in his Keynote address said Smart Africa initiative had been a reference for boosting digital transformation for the Continent.
He said the one area network in the Northern corridor required no extra investment but just political will.
Kagame said Africa will never be left behind if it leverages use of technologies, adding that there was no good explanation why Africa was left behind.
“ICT is not just about gadgets but results on the ground. It can transform the lives of people who have never touched smart phones,” said President Kagame adding that investment in ICTs takes any country to the next level of productivity and efficiency.
He also stressed the need to invest in security systems in order to strike the balance between the benefits of ICT and the associated risks.
The Secretary General of the International Telecommunications Union, Houlin Zhao said mainstreaming ICT in Africa will greatly contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable development goals (SDGs).
The Conference was also addressed by the Prime Minister of Mali, Modibo Keita, Deputy Premier of Gabon, Flavien Nzoundou and Ministers from other African Countries including Kenya, Angola and South Sudan.
The three day summit attracted about 2500 participants from 81 countries and the summit agreed to deliver on the Smart Africa promise of raising United States dollars 300 billion in ICT investments in Africa by 2020.