On 17 October 2023, at the opening ceremony of Mobile World Congress Kigali at Kigali Convention Centre, President Paul Kagame has said there is a need to work together in addressing the gaps in mobile access and connectivity urgently as a significant portion of Africans remains offline.
The conference, which will conclude on October 19, is Africa’s most influential connectivity event. It brings together over 2500 participants, including industry leaders, policy leaders and innovators, from 75 countries.
Sub-Saharan Africa has made great strides in making mobile innovation an enabler of change. According to GSMA, today, 85 per cent of the region is covered by mobile networks, but the remaining 15 per cent, which accounts for about 200 million people, remains unconnected.
Kagame recognises that Africa has the fastest-growing mobile network with a growing penetration rate, but still has a long way to go.
“We already have the means to address the problems we are dealing with today. Regional integration, powered by faster and more reliable broadband, is a big part of it. The African Union and Smart Africa are our institutions leading this, and Africa enjoys strong. We can get more results faster by working together” He Said.
President Kagame highlighted that the pandemic has hastened the shift toward a new era of technology-driven development, adding that young and talented entrepreneurs are at the forefront of the transformation as they receive continued support from the government.
“Financial technology is starting to make a big difference in everyday lives of our citizens. The potential of digital health technology to transform our health systems is also very clear. That means we have to address the gaps in access and connectivity with a sense of urgency. Too many Africans remain offline. Today, Africa has the fastest growing multiliteration rate in the world, but we still have a long way to go” He said.
President Kagame said there is a need to continue to prioritize digital skills, where he commended the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and partners for a digital coalition launched in 2022, highlighting that so far, over USD 92 billion in revenues have been mobilised and will mostly benefit the hard-to-reach communities.
Luyanda Matlala Discusses DBSA’s ICT Initiatives and Rwanda’s ICT Progress at MWC Kigali
In an exclusive interview at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) Kigali, Luyanda Matlala, Transaction Originator for the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA), shared insights into DBSA’s presence at the conference and their strategic focus within the ICT sector.
Matlala emphasized DBSA’s commitment to promoting their offerings within the ICT sector, particularly within the coverage division.
“We are at MWC to promote our offering within the ICT sector. Our team specifically focuses on originating transactions in Energy Environment & ICT” He stated.
Matlala discussed their interest in identifying infrastructure projects in the ICT space that they can partner in financing. These projects span a wide spectrum, including fiber infrastructure, telecommunications network development, tower projects, and even ventures into the field of artificial intelligence (AI).
He expressed DBSA’s eagerness to expand its footprint within the ICT sector across the African continent.
Furthermore, Matlala commended Rwanda’s impressive advancements in the ICT sector.
He expressed gratitude for the warm welcome they received, stating, “It’s firstly, thank you for the invite and the warm welcome in receiving us within Rwanda and Kigali. It’s a beautiful city, and we’ve enjoyed being here.”
He praised Rwanda’s dedication to hosting a high-level delegation at MWC, underlining the seriousness with which the Rwandan people approach development through technology.
Mats Granryd, Director General of GSMA and the lead organizer of MWC Kigali, also acknowledged Rwanda’s remarkable progress in technology and digital transformation. He cited Rwanda’s impressive ranking of fourth in Africa in the World Economic Forum’s assessment, highlighting the country’s potential to lead innovation on the continent.
He highlighted Rwanda’s significant strides in the digital landscape, citing a World Economic Forum ranking that places the country at number four in Africa, with the potential to ascend to the top position.