Broadband is the key to unlocking digital transformation – Kagame

On 21 April 2022 at 10:00

President Paul Kagame has said that a large number of the African population use mobile phones but not all of them have access to high speed internet on smartphones owing to broadband issues.

The Head of State was speaking on Wednesday 20th April 2022 during fireside chat on the ‘Digital Revolution’ discussing its impact in Rwanda, Africa and on global development as a whole.

The event organized by the World Bank was also joined by the Chief Executive Officer of MasterCard, Michael Miebach; the President of World Bank Group, David R. Malpass and Leila Search, Senior Investment Officer for FinTech Investments at International Finance Corporation (IFC) among others.

Speaking at the event, Kagame said that broadband is essential to digital transformation.

“80% of Africa’s population has a mobile phone but not everyone has access to high speed internet on a smartphone. Yet, broadband is the key to unlocking digital transformation,” he noted.

“On our continent, the major challenge continues to be the insufficient reach of fiber optic cables in rural areas. This means that the majority of Africa’s population does not have access to high speed internet. These are key areas in dealing with the matter,” Kagame added.

The Head of State also shared Rwanda’s efforts where the country continues to invest in related infrastructures.

“In Rwanda, we have made significant investment in broadband infrastructure. We have been able to reach over 95% broadband coverage. If you look at our country health sector, for example, most of the facilities in Rwanda are connected to the internet,” he said.

The President revealed that the partnership with the World Bank has helped Rwanda to tackle barriers and commended its great support.

He underscored that universal access to broadband would eliminate barriers and inequalities in the use of internet particularly in rural areas.

The President also talked about the importance of cross-border payment systems where more efforts are put in place to enhance partnerships aimed at streamlining digital transformation particularly in Africa and the East African Region (EAC).

“It will evolve, there has been effort across the region, during the integration process of our region. EAC has come closer together in a sense that it becomes one big country that brings partner-states together,” he noted.

“It is looking at how we can even have monetary union, and under that, different harmonization activities and services will be undertaken to ease the movement and therefore the currencies within the payment system as it is,” Kagame added.

Commenting on mitigating the risks of new technologies, President Kagame said that ‘one has to be aware of the risks involved with these new technologies and take steps to make sure that risks are mitigated but at the same time harness the productivity and efficiencies and all the values entailed’.

President Paul Kagame has said that broadband is the key to unlocking digital transformation.