By Uwa Suleiman
Rwanda is hosting the third edition of Transform Africa, a Summit that brings together different players from across Africa and the globe to fast-tract the continent’s digital transformation agenda.
The event is currently holding in Kigali, Rwandan capital city. The Honourable Minister of Communications, Barrister Adebayo Shittu representing President Muhammadu Buhari and Director General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, led a highly technical Nigerian delegation to the Summit currently holding in Kigali.
Themed “Smart Cities Fast Forward”, the Summit convenes Heads of State and other senior government officials, business leaders, young innovators, and representatives from international organization’s to collaborate on new ways of shaping, accelerating and sustaining Africa’s on-going digital revolution.
Geared towards connecting, innovating and transforming the continent into a knowledge economy thereby driving global competitiveness and job creation, Transform Africa aims to enable Member States to become more competitive, agile, open and innovative smart economies. The Summit calls on African nations to leverage ICT innovations to transform the continent into a smart society.
In its first edition held in 2013, seven African Heads of State signed the ‘Smart Africa Manifesto’ in which they pledged to provide leadership in accelerating socio-economic development through ICT. In January 2014, African Union Heads of State endorsed the Manifesto during the 22nd Ordinary Session of the AU Assembly n Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Transform Africa 2017 brings special focus on the incorporation of ICT in building “Smart Cities.” The Executive Director of Smart Africa Secretariat, Dr Hamadoun Toure, points out that the Summit serves as a platform for edge-cutting ideas and initiatives in creating better and sustainable cities across the continent.
“Participants will have an opportunity to debate and experience the next wave of innovative, integrated technologies that are already helping cities around the world become more compassionate, connected, responsive and sustainable,” Dr Hamadoun says.
He further adds that challenges brought about by urbanisation require African cities to have specific and efficient solution schemes.
During the Summit, the ‘Africa Smart Cities Blueprint’ will be unveiled. Speaking about the Smart Cities Blueprint earlier in February 2017, the Rwandan Minister of Youth and ICT, Jean Philbert Nsengimana, revealed that connectivity, security, digital service delivery, efficiently managed utilities, environment protection, health, and education are vital aspects of the Blueprint.
The Summit that runs from 10-12 May 207 will feature a number of key events. These include:
Smart Africa Leaders Summit
Smart Africa Women’s Summit
Smart Africa Business Leaders’ Symposium
Smart Africa Conference
Smart Africa Invest Programme
Smart Africa Networking Hub
Smart City Exhibition
Face the Gorillas Smart City Edition
The Summit is co-organised by the Government of Rwanda and the Smart Africa Secretariat.
- Uwa Suleiman is NITDA’s spokesperson