Rwanda has held its second edition of the SMART Rwanda Days conference in Kigali, as a build-up to the country’s Vision 2020 agenda to transform into a knowledge-based economy.
The conference which started yesterday, October 2nd, is running under the theme “Digitising Rwanda” and is set to close today, October 3rd having identified a strategy on how to leverage ICT to accelerate economic growth and competitiveness for Rwanda and Africa as a whole.
Over 400 participants from across the world will be in attendance, including, ICT experts, policy makers, development partners as well as young innovators to address issues on Digital Payments, Internet Governance, Internet Economy, Open Data and Digital Innovation.
Jean Philbert Nsengimana, the Minister for Youth and ICT in the country said the event will provide an opportunity for participants to consider the ICT sector’s contribution towards national development and renew partnerships and strategies that will transform the country to a knowledge based economy by 2020.
“For the SMART Rwanda Days specifically this year, we chose ‘Digitising Rwanda’ as a theme in recognition of the fact that Africa’s digital economies are growing faster than traditional sectors and the potential for an even bigger contribution to national GDPs is yet to be unleashed,” said Nsengimana.
Currently, the ICT sector contributes 2 per cent to the country’s GDP with a 45 per cent attraction of foreign investments. In Africa as a whole, the ICT contribution to GDP stands at 1.1% on average.
The conference is a platform for all actors in the development arena to check how ‘smart’ they are with a main focus on the role of innovation in transforming Education, Healthcare, Agriculture, Government Service Delivery and Business, especially financial services.
Smart Rwanda Days will also host a steering committee meeting of Smart Africa Alliance, an initiative that was born in Rwanda during the TransformAfrica Summit in October last year.