Zimbabwe ICT Minister Kazembe Kazembe said Africa needs to open up digital borders and work together as a 1.2 billion population to be competitive and for the continent’s digital economy to boom.
Speaking during the ongoing India-Africa ICT Expo in Kigali Rwanda, the minister said some African Countries have already focused on specializing in specific sectors, where Togo is focusing on BlockChain and Kenya in focusing on the digital economy
“If we need to match India, China, and America, we have to remove the African country individualism and work together as one African market, opening up borders and creating a big $1.2billion digital market and Smart Africa Alliance is the road map”.
“To ensure that the digital economic era is inclusive we need a Smart Africa alliance where different countries focus and specialize in their areas of strength so that there is no duplication,” he said.
“We must work as one big African family. For us to have our own Alibaba ,we must be borderless and look at Africa as one village. The biggest challenge we are facing in Africa is about infrastructure.
“We have infrastructural gaps and while some countries are already talking of Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Intelligence, we in Africa are still working on accessibility issues hence the inclusivity drive is affected,” Kazembe said.
Rwanda’s Minister of ICT and Innovation, Paula Ingamire, agreed with Kazembe and noted that
“To enable a single market we have to think of how to harmonize the policies and regulations .We must emulate the European Union’s. inclusive general data protection regulations. We must promote inclusive policies and provide equitable opportunities for all in Africa. We can leverage on Africa’s youthful population and take advantage of digital transformation.”
The Rwandese Minister, whose country is ranked highly in terms of ICTs in Africa, was responding to a question posed by the POTRAZ Director General Dr Gift Machengete had posed on the steps Africa is taking in expediting the Pan Africa single market Vision .
“We have talked of Pan Africanism in terms of ICTs, that we need a digital single market with Pan African infrastructure policies, regulatory frameworks, technical standards and spectrum policies. What is the way forward? We have heard that in Africa we are at different levels of development, what do we do ,what is the roadmap for Africa to have this single market like the digital agenda for Europe?” He asked.
Other African Ministers also pushed the Agenda of One African Passport, to bridge the borders and also easy access to the continent.
Director-General of Smart Africa Initiative Dr. Lacina Kone said the initiative was started 5 years ago in a meeting that was done by 7 various heads of state to push the technology transfer between the countries.
Other ICT Ministers present during the summit were from Rwanda, Malawi, and Zimbabwe. More than 30 high technological companies were also present, to deliberate through the summit.