Smart Rwanda Days kicks off
Under the theme "Digitising Rwanda" the second edition of SMART Days Rwanda kicked off in Kigali on 2 October 2014, as the country prepares to embark on the last five years of the 2020 vision and re-doubles efforts to achieve the transformation into a knowledge-based economy and society.
Over 400 attendees, including ICT experts from across the world, policy makers, development partners and young innovators are expected. Smart Rwanda Days will also host a Steering Committee meeting of Smart Africa Alliance, an initiative that was born in Rwanda during the Transform Africa Summit in October last year.
The gathering aims at stimulating the debate on how Rwanda and Africa at large can leverage ICT to accelerate economic growth and competitiveness.
While officiating the conference, Rwanda’s Minister of Youth and ICT, Jean Philbert Nsengimana said that “Over the next one day and half, we will pause, reflect, analyse, strategise, network and celebrate achievements and ponder on areas of improvement, we will debate topics ranging from digital economies, cashless payments, internet governance, open data and smart cities and communities at the end of the day tomorrow my biggest expectation is that we will go back with the renewed sense of urgency in delivering on promise of ICT in the greater good of all.”
Dr. Hamadoun Toure, Secretary-General of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) noted that “We’re here to celebrate one of the key elements of the Smart Africa Manifesto which calls for Smart Country programs, and here once again Rwanda has taken a lead with this Smart Rwanda Days.”
In Rwanda, ICT contributes 2% to GDP, ahead of agriculture and mining. In terms of foreign direct investments, the ICT sector attracts 45% of the total in-flows, more than the next 5 sectors combined, including trade, finance, mining and manufacturing. A recent study revealed that ICT contributes 3.7% in advanced economies whereas in Africa, ICT contribution to GDP is at 1.1% on average.
Keynote speakers at the conference will include President Paul Kagame and Dr. Hamadoun Toure, Secretary-General of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). The conference will also feature high-level panel discussions on Digital Payments, Internet Governance, Internet Economy, Open Data, Content Localisation, and Digital Innovation among others.