By Abdi Ali
Published March 23, 2017
A two-day conference in the Rwandan capital, Kigali, is set to deliberate on the role of the internet in socio-economic development of Africa.
The meeting, scheduled for May 8-9, 2017, is expected to bring together experts from governmental, inter-governmental and non-governmental organisations, business and educational sectors across Africa to identify and discuss synergies and create opportunities using the Internet in the advancement of education, science and technology and economic growth.
The aim of the gathering that is dubbed Africa Regional Internet Development Dialogue is to provide an opportunity for key stakeholders to:
- discuss not only the challenges, but also the achievements in building the Internet economy and education in Africa
- review the successes and setbacks of various initiatives throughout the region and share lessons-learned, and
- identify the next steps different stakeholders need to take to build the Internet economy and improve education in Africa.
“One of the key topics of discussion will be what needs to be done for Africa to benefit from the transformational opportunities of the Internet for the benefit of the African economy and education,” explains Dawit Bekele, Regional Bureau Director for Africa at the Internet Society. “While there are many challenges, we know it can be done. Countries such as Kenya and Rwanda have created policy environments that enable innovation and they are now seeing the benefits of the Internet economy. Universities throughout the continent are also using e-learning opportunities to increase their reach as well as to give flexibility for their students.”
Organised by Internet Society in partnership with UNESCO and the Ministry of Youth and ICT of the Government of Rwanda, this two-day meeting is part of a global series of Internet development conferences organized by the Internet Society with the aim of furthering the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) that aim at tackling the world’s main development challenges by 2030.
“Africa is on an unstoppable move toward digital transformation. However, the room for increasing speed and impact is limitless,” says Jean Philbert Nsengimana, Rwanda’s Minister for Youth and ICT. “This can only be achieved if we are able to harness effectively the power of partnerships. We therefore welcome and are pleased to co-host this dialogue which is a great platform for advanced partnerships ahead of the transform Africa Summit that Rwanda will host from May 10 to 12, 2017.”
Indrajit Banerjee, Director of Knowledge Societies Division in the Communications and Information Sector of UNESCO, says, “I am honored to participate in this very meaningful event. UNESCO is committed to working with all stakeholders to harness ICTs in a way that serves the interests of learners and the larger teaching/learning community.”