President Paul Kagame has challenged African youths to become innovators and embrace an entrepreneurial mindset to drive economic growth.
President Paul Kagame has challenged African youths to become innovators and embrace an entrepreneurial mindset to drive economic growth. He said information communication technologies (ICTs) present unlimited opportunities for African youths to create wealth. “An entrepreneur is one that does not alleviate poverty, but creates wealth,” Kagame said. He was, on Friday 3, speaking at a high-end conference on ICT, dubbed ‘SMART Rwanda Days’, where regional and international industry experts and policy makers discussed how ICT’s can contribute to Rwanda’s economic growth.
International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Secretary General, Dr. Mahadoun Toure, who was a key not speaker, said the creation of a knowledge-based society triggers economic development. “Information is the only thing that grows when you share it,” he said. Dr. Toure added that accessing, creating and sharing information facilitates wealth creation. Kenya’s ICT Minister, Fred Matiang, said ICT has facilitated regional integration and expanded the horizon for national and regional economic development. President Kagame said youths need to take advantage of such an environment.
“Digital innovation means ideas do not have borders and cannot be landlocked.” Hundreds of youths who attended the conference requested for government investments into ITC infrastructure to unlock their potential. Ketia Ekerezi, 6th Grader, and a programmer, has benefited from Rwanda’s investment into the One Laptop Per Child program, where primary schools access computers. She attended the conference and expressed concern that such facilities are not availed to students up to higher level of learning. Other participants said access to connectivity will enable their ambitions.
Rwanda has already invested into a 4,500km national backbone fiber optic network, worth over a $130m from which a 4G LTE Internet connectivity is being tested. Once it is up and running, a select of 10 sectors, which were discussed during the conference, will be providing services digitally. The sectors include; Education, Health-care, Governance, Business, Agriculture, Environment, Job Creation, Infrastructure, and Women empowerment. President Kagame requested the youth to take advantage of these facilities. “We are making good progress. We should not take things for granted.” Industry players and financiers such as Tigo, a subsidiary of Swedish telecom Millicom International, VISA, World Bank, Internet Society, ICANN, BCG, and the Boston Consulting Group were present.