As global shapers gathered in Kigali, Rwanda for the 26th Annual World Economic Forum on Africa, the focus was how African economies can effectively harness their resources through digital transformation.
From one speaker to another, the Fourth Industrial Revolution was the “buzz word” and delegates highlighted the need to adopt it, to transform economies and improve the lives of citizens on the continent.
The choice of the location was driven by the notion that Rwanda has transformed itself from a horrific genocide over two decades ago, to become an economic model for development in Africa.
Rwanda is a very clear success story about how you can do this and how fast you can move progress on growth and development if you pursue a digitalisation strategy.
“Rwanda is a very clear success story about how you can do this and how fast you can move progress on growth and development if you pursue a digitalisation strategy, if you pursue a knowledge economy, if you invest in your people, and this is what technology gives us the opportunity to do,” said Elsie .S. Kanza, the Head of Africa at World Economic Forum.
The forum came at the time that economies around the world are reeling from depressed commodity prices that have ignited turbulence in world stock markets, put pressure on currencies, leading to dimmed growth prospects. But, there is hope for growth.
“The African economies are diversifying, the macro economic policies are stabilising, the demographic dividend of our youth population is creating huge consumer market, so I will say that despite the dwindling oil prices and the prices of commodities, Africa has a lot of hope,” said Tony Elumelu, Chairman of Heirs Holdings.
The summit reinforced the sentiment that Africa is indeed rising and the wider message conveyed by panelists and audience alike was that it is Africans themselves who have the power to shape the transformation of the continent.