For a long time now the African Youth – a force to be reckoned with – has been using information communication technology in their daily lives. So much so that the Sub-Saharan region has seen the largest increase in internet penetration across the whole world. Now African leaders have finally seen the light. It all started way back in 2013 with President Paul Kagame of Rwanda and the Dr. Hamadoun Toure, the then Secretary General of the International Telecommunication Union. These two gentlemen came together and birthed the summit that is now known as Transform Africa. The first session was attended by over 1200 delegates – including Heads of States from Gabon, Kenya, Mali, South Sudan, senior representatives from over 100 governments, and major global brands such as Facebook, Google etc.
The result of the summit was the initiative – The Smart Africa Alliance, which is dedicated to accelerating sustainable socio-economic development on the continent. Above and beyond this, the initiative has partnered with the African Development Bank, the International Telecommunication Union and the private sector to ensure Africa moves into the knowledge economy through affordable access to broadband; coupled with the use Information Communication Technologies. The initiative since has grown from 7 signatories to 53.
The main goal of the initiative is to capitalize on the relationship between governments and the private sector. This is because at the end of the day this is the best way to secure funding for projects where all stakeholders will benefit. The initiative is currently undertaking 8 different projects across the continent. Of particular interest are the Youth Innovation and Job Creation and Digital Literacy projects. As mentioned in previous articles, the unemployment plague currently making its way across the Sub-Sahara needs to be stopped immediately; jobs need to be made available for all the educated Africans that deserve it. Governments and the private sector working together to put a stop to this plague is a step in the right direction and should be applauded. Additionally, the Digital Literacy project will ensure Africa moves to the next level and can contribute internationally to the development of technology.
At the end of the day it all comes down to the citizens of the continent. We have to be the ones to make the most of such initiatives and to push for even more projects that will increase the quality of life for all Africans. Detailed concept notes, action plans and budgets for each of the initiatives, are in development by the Smart Africa Task Force staff.