Nine African States and other ICT partners have embarked on a shared vision under the Smart Africa initiative to make total connectivity in Sub-Saharan Africa a reality. Through the initiative, these countries are now poised to unlock the potential of ICTs and help countries experience the impact of digital media, big data and the general value that ICT brings along whilst ensuring sustainable development for the continent.
Smart Africa was borne from the Transform Africa Summit in Kigali in 2013. It brings together African governments, the private sector and international organizations to promote and ensure affordable access to broadband and ICTs in general, ushering Africa into the knowledge economy.
Founding partners of the Smart Africa initiative include: Burkina Faso, Gabon, Kenya, Mali, Rwanda, Senegal, South Sudan, Tchad, Uganda, as well as GSMA, AU Commission, NEPAD Agency, UNECA, AfDB, the World Bank and ITU. The Smart Africa secretariat has been created under the auspices of the government of Rwanda.
Each member country is committed to developing and implementing Smart country programs with clear targets and milestones which will be strongly aligned with the Smart Africa Manifesto. The manifesto hinges on five (5) pillars : Policy, Access, E-government, Private sector/Entrepreneurship and Sustainable development.
The SMART Africa manifesto has the full support of African Heads of State and Government who endorsed it under the umbrella of the African Union. The Heads commit to support the socio-economic transformation of Africa through smart implementation and application of ICTs.
The Smart Africa Manifesto is embedded in five principles. It is the resolve of Africa to:
1. Put ICT at the centre of national socio-economic development agenda
2. Improve access to ICTs especially broadband
3. Improve accountability, efficiency and openness through ICT
4. To put the private sector first
5. To leverage ICT to promote sustainable development.
Smart Africa Flagship Initiatives are championed by individual member countries ranging from ICT Industry development, SMART cities, Youth Innovation and Job creation, Digital Economy, Green economy to Digital literacy.
Africa is now recognized as an emerging market with huge potential with six of the top 10 fastest growing economies coming from Africa. In ICT, with mobile telephony, Africa has established itself as the leading platform of choice for the citizens.. The combined emerging and developing countries market boasts of over 5 billion mobile users. Two thirds of adults in sub Saharan Africa have a mobile phone with a projected 360 million smart phones by 2025. The pace of mobile phone is unmatched in the history of technology. It is therefore no doubt that Africa’s mobile market is driving economic growth.
We are seeing real transformation of sectors through the use of ICTs. It is therefore our goal to empower users, enrich people’s lifestyles and livelihoods, and boost the economy as a whole.As the world puts the ‘Future in Focus’ at the 2014 ITU Telecom World, Africa is enjoined as it defines its ICT priorities to help accelerate sustainable socio-economic development across an entire continent through Smart Africa.
Kenya, Rwanda, Senegal, South Sudan, and Uganda are present at the ITU Telecom under the auspices of Smart Africa to showcase their Smart ICT industry projects and the exiting investment potential.
We, members of Smart Africa alliance, thank partners that have demonstrated their support as founding members. We also thank the ITU for its commitment to see Africa progress through ICTs. Smart Africa is inspired by the power of working together, sharing knowledge, ideas and experience to move forward into the digital future. We therefore welcome more partners on board in our endeavor to connect, innovate and transform Africa.
The Smart Africa platform will be used to raise funds that will be used to deliver the smart initiatives/flagships with a target of 300 billion USD by 2020. Since 2006, the Connect Africa initiative raises over 70 billion USD that has been used to fund infrastructure projects on the continent with the objective of connecting the unconnected.
Issued by: Hon. Jean-Philbert Nsengimana, Minister Youth and ICT, Republic of Rwanda
Dr. Fred Matiang’i, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Information, Communications and Technology, Republic Of Kenya
Hon. John Nasasira, Minister For Information and Communications Technology, Republic Of Ugand