About the Summit
SMART Rwanda Days is an annual event bringing together national and international stakeholders in the ICT sector – industry experts, policy makers, and development partners – to discuss how Rwanda can leverage Information Communication Technologies for economic transformation in line with Vision 2020.
Building on the successful SMART Rwanda Days 2013, and the Transform Africa Summit, this year’s SMART Rwanda Days will provide a platform for stakeholders to discuss how ICT can contribute more significantly to Rwanda’s economic and social development.
According to the most recent economic update, the ICT sector contributed more than 2% of Rwanda’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) over the last two quarters. To build on this, Rwanda is embarking on an ambitious digitisation agenda, from developing a cashless economy and a paperless government to extending broadband to all citizens and digital literacy and innovation.
The potential of the Internet to generate economic growth and social development in Africa lies in its ability to transform key sectors such as financial services, education, health, retail, agriculture, and government. McKinsey estimates that technology-related productivity gains in these sectors could reach $148 billion to $318 billion by 2025.
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, the Internet Economy, Content Localisation, Digital Innovation and more.
SMART Rwanda Days will be held at the Serena Hotel, Kigali on 2–3 October 2014, under the theme “Digitising Rwanda”.
Digitisation brings much promise to knowledge-based economies. However, a recent Boston Consulting report states that the full benefits of digitisation will only be achieved if nations successfully address “e-frictions”. There are four types of frictions that prevent consumers, companies and countries from realising the internet’s full benefits :
- Infrastructure-related friction : the most significant-limits basic access to online activity
- Industry-related sources of friction such as shortages of capital and skilled labour hold back successful online business operations and the development of digital businesses
- Individual friction : payment systems and data security are two examples that affect the degree to which citizens and consumers engage in online activities ;
- Information-related friction includes the volumes of content available in a local language, a country’s commitment to Internet openness and obstacles to accessing certain types of content.
The SMART Rwanda Days conference is therefore an opportunity for experts, policy makers as well as industry players to identify what actions must be taken to foster the maturity of digital ecosystem for Rwanda and Africa.