He was speaking at the Transform Africa Economic Forum, a side event of the Transform Africa Summit 2018, an idea kick-started and realized by President Kagame and Zimbabwe-born businessman, founder and executive chairman of Econet, a global telecommunication company, Strive Masiyiwa.
Transform Africa Summit 2018 is taking place at the Kigali Convention Centre from 7-10 May 2018.
Kagame said that integrating the continent’s digital technologies will among other things have a positive impact on African countries’ development as well as business climate.
He cited an example of the telecommunications sector which he said could reduce costs and improve efficiency through integration. Currently, due to lack of integration, telephone calls between African countries are often routed through Europe or Asia.
“I’m sure people here know it very well, better than I, how even when we are communicating the traffic follows the same route as the planes, where the traffic has to first be channeled outside Africa and then channeled back to us.
“What are you integrating, if you don’t include this? Why don’t we have that happening without having to pay for a visa for the traffic to first go out of Africa and then receive it back?” Kagame posed.
The president said that despite not being technologically advanced like other economies, Africa’s best chance lies in cooperation.
“We still have a long way to go but nevertheless regional cooperation on technology has produced good results to some extent on our continent in recent years. Other urgent integration projects have languished on the African agenda, sometimes for decades. We surely can find ways of speeding that up,” he said.
The desired change he said involves creating conversations through platforms such as the Transform Africa Summit, to foster technology cooperation.