World Economic Forum in Kigali to prepare Africa for digital era

GMT 23:16 2016 Monday ,09 May

Arab Today, arab today World Economic Forum in Kigali to prepare Africa for digital era

The World Economic Forum
Kigali - XINHUA

The World Economic Forum on Africa due to open in Kigali, Rwanda on Wednesday will explore ways to prepare the African continent for the digital era, Elsie Kanza, Head of Africa and Member of the Executive Committee, World Economic Forum said Monday.

About 4 billion people worldwide remain unconnected to the Internet with more than 90 percent living in the developing world. including Africa.

Africa only has an estimated internet penetration rate of 28.6 percent.

Connecting Africa means belief in the power of communication to make a better world, according to experts.

They argue that bringing broadband Internet access across African communities would not only stimulate economies, but provide enhancements to healthcare, education and job creation.

Speaking at a press conference ahead of the Wednesday meeting, Kanza said the digital era would connect Africa's resources to address underlying issues.

"The internet is a core infrastructure for the fourth industrial revolution. We need to look at the challenge of the inequality gap to ensure no one is locked out," Kanza told journalists in Kigali.

"This will also be through sharing stories of those that have been connected and have been transformed as well as the development story of Rwanda and how it can be scaled up," Kanza said.

The World Economic Forum on Africa 2016 will be held from May 11 to 13 under the theme "Connecting Africa's Resources through Digital Transformation".

Public figures, business leaders, entrepreneurs, youth leaders and activists will participate, contributing ideas and energy towards solutions that will shape Africa's future.

Over 1500 delegates are expected to participate in the forum which will feature discussions on the changes expected in economies, corporations and societies as well as deliberate on emerging opportunities and risks.

It will also seek solutions to address the skills gap on African continent to ensure that a huge section of Africans are digitally literate to participate in the fourth industrial revolution.

Rwanda's Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Claver Gatete described information technology and digital transformation as a key pillar in growth and development.

He said the country's IT sector was responsible for about 3 per cent of the gross domestic product and supporting multiple other sectors including provision of public services.

"That is why we believe that the Fourth Industrial Revolution is going to become a big pillar in our development path," Gatete stated.

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