Paul Kagame has highlighted the vital role of the private sector in national digital strategy development, pointing out that it should be a partner in terms of innovation and investment.
Governments may play a pivotal role in integrating digital technology into policy and making sure implications are understood by people and distributed equitably, but the private sector should be involved.
Kagame was speaking during a panel discussion today moderated by Angel Gurria, Secretary-General of Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development to debate on “Shaping a National Digital Strategy” at the ongoing World Economic Forum in Davos.
He said that Africa has started from a low base but aims at moving as fast as possible, with the understanding that benefits outweigh the risks.
“We focus on solutions and get rid of problems.” Kagame stated emphasizing that ‘”Public-private partnership is vital in digital development with understanding that connecting the unconnected is huge potential.”
“If connected, this large number will contribute to returns,” he added.
The panel aimed at discussing how national digital strategies unlock leapfrogging opportunities for countries.
President Kagame said that integrating ICT in national strategy and planning, Rwanda had registered a big leap between 2003 and 2016, where connectivity grew by 30%.
“Access to Internet in Rwanda has increased from 3% in 2005 to 33% in 2016, and we aim for universal access,” he said.
On the relation to national education systems and digital development, President Kagame national digital strategies must ensure that education systems are streamlined to ensure skills produced are in line with needs for digital development.
Digitization and innovation in Africa is increasingly local and its impact is evident across sectors such as banking, health, agriculture, transport and trade.
The panel also included Herman Gref, CEO and Chairman of the Board, Sberbank, Russia, Doris Leuthard, President of the Swiss Confederation elect 2017 and Federal Councillor of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications of Switzerland and Gavin Patterson, CEO, BT Group, United Kingdom.