Accelerating Digital Innovation in Africa
In October, A4AI traveled to Kigali, Rwanda to join more than 2,500 participants from the government, private, and civil society sectors at Transform Africa 2015, themed “Accelerating Digital Innovation.”
Key sessions at the event included a discussion on how to build an Africa in which Internet for all is a reality. Participating in this session were representatives from GSMA, WEF, BRCK Inc, Ericsson, Facebook Africa, and TIGO. As moderator Kojo Boakye (A4AI Deputy Director) pointed out, today only 20% of Africans use the Internet. Yet, Internet access is one of the most transformative tools for economic and social development, creating opportunities for innovation in areas such as health, education, government accountability, and more. Panelists confronted current challenges and highlighted ways that multi-stakeholder partnerships can drive connectivity across the continent.
WATCH THE SESSSION: Internet for All
On Tuesday, October 20, A4AI Executive Director Sonia Jorge moderated one of the summit’s most highly anticipated sessions: Digital Inclusion for Women’s Empowerment. Setting the stage for an inspiring dialogue, First Lady of Rwanda Jeannette Kagame opened the session with remarks on the gender digital divide, offering examples of international initiatives—such as the GEM-TECH awards organised by ITU and UN Women—and reforms in Rwanda aimed to ensure women benefit from the same opportunities as men. The First Lady then challenged participants to address the gender equality gap well before the 2030 target set for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Following the keynote address, Ingrid Brudvig presented key insights from the Web Foundation’s recently released report on Women’s Rights Online. Panelists—representatives from the South Sudan Ministry of Telecommunications, UN Women, AfDB, RwandaOnline, Kofi Annan Center of Excellence in ICT, and Carnegie Mellon University Rwanda—followed the presentation with a look at solutions towards full digital inclusion. Some of the proposed approaches include scholarship programs to expand women’s access to ICT training and affirmative action for women’s representation in government.
WATCH THE SESSION: Digital Inclusion for Women's Empowerment
View more coverage of Transform Africa Summit 2015