President Paul Kagame has emphasised Rwanda’s ambition to put technology at the centre of its development plans, pointing out that it will even be more vital in helping the country recover from the effects of the New Coronavirus and for the future ambitions.
President Kagame made the observation on Wednesday while participating in the World Economic Forum (WEF) Great Reset Dialogue under the theme “Harnessing the Fourth Industrial Revolution”, alongside the President of Colombia, Ivan Duque and the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu.
Speaking during the virtual session moderated by the WEF President, Borge Brende, President Kagame highlighted some of the different initiatives by the government and the private sector to integrate technology in different spheres of the economy and how it has paid off.
“Good engagement with President of Colombia @IvanDuque, PM of Israel, @netanyahu & @wef President @borgebrende on a panel hosted by the World Economic Forum on harnessing the 4th Industrial Revolution. These technologies will help us navigate #COVID19 recovery & beyond. #TheGreatReset. #TheGreatReset,” President Kagame tweeted after the session.
The Head of State said that technology is an enabler when it comes to service delivery and equipping young people with the right skills, citing technology companies which have partnered with Rwanda and it yielded results.
“Over the past 20 years, Rwanda has continued to prioritize investment in technology, broadband, and digital skills,” President Kagame said, pointing out some of the partnerships Rwanda has built with global tech companies.
“We have enjoyed partnership with the technology companies, you mentioned the use of drones. We have had the opportunity to partner with the company Zipline that has invested with us in Rwanda in drone technology,” President Kagame said, adding that the country is able to use the drones in the health sector, to deliver blood in rural parts of the country.
He highlighted the importance of such partnerships between the private sector and government which deliver for the people and help address challenges in different sectors such as health and education.
“We have also forged a partnership with the World Economic Forum, which we are very happy with. We have benefited from that partnership where we have created the centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution here in Rwanda,” he said adding that the centre will not only benefit the country but the entire continent.
“The partnership has extended to even other countries. We have patterned with WEF, countries like Israel, Singapore and these are advanced in many cases in this area and we have benefited from this partnership, which we hope to broaden and continue with other countries,” President Kagame said.
In building such partnerships, the Head of State said that the private sector has continually been pivotal in making sure that they bring in the necessary resources for the Investment, but also the know-how through technology.
“We really have this vision where not only do we develop these capacities within our own country, but also across the continent and each country in our continent has made their own investments,” he said, calling for more linkages of such continental structures especially for young people to leverage them.
“We have made our investments and we have seen progress for our people for our Industries, but also across the continent of Africa and we have seen young people take up this opportunity to be involved with the development and in the innovations and the interpretation of the partnership that comes around,” he said.
He emphasized the role of the private sector in building public private partnerships where government leaders like himself also participate with the aim of ensuring that this technological development is harmonized to deliver results.
He said that the participation of leaders in the process is to ensure that there is the needed regulatory environment across Africa that makes it easy to know “what to expect with each other and among ourselves”.
He said that African countries are aware that technology innovation is moving very fast and this puts pressure on regulators to find the right balance so that countries are able to work together, especially in the context of the new Continental Free Trade Area, which he said will create the largest market across the world.
“We’re aware that it’s going to succeed in the wider context of our continent which in many cases has been left behind if you look at the global statistics, yet there are so many problems that technology can provide solutions for,”
Especially in the context of the new Continental Free Trade Area which by any measure seems to be the largest across the world, it is important that systems be able to communicate with each other across our borders,” President Kagame said, emphasizing the importance of that if the AfCFTA must be operationalized.
He said that today more children are joining schools but there is no guarantee for jobs, pointing out that the school curricula has to be flexible and future-oriented, factoring in technology to equip children with the right skills.