The Head of State made the call on 17th October 2023, at the Mobile World Congress Kigali where he emphasized the importance of bridging this digital divide.
Sub-Saharan Africa has made progress in mobile innovation, with 85 percent coverage by mobile networks. However, approximately 15 percent, or around 200 million people, remain unconnected.
Kagame noted the region’s rapid mobile network growth but stressed the need for further efforts.
The President observed that addressing the problems is possible adding that regional integration, powered by faster and more reliable broadband, is a big part of that.
Kagame also highlighted the role of institutions like the African Union and Smart Africa in this endeavor.
Among others, the President also acknowledged the pandemic’s impact on accelerating technology-led development and commended young entrepreneurs for driving this transformation with continued government support.
He cited the potential of financial technology and digital health technology to improve citizens’ lives.
Kagame praised Airtel Rwanda for expanding post-4G data accessibility and the support from Reed Hastings and MTN Rwanda in offering competitive pricing for smartphones.
He stressed the importance of collaboration among the private sector, government, and strategic partners in advancing digital access.
Mats Granryd, Director General of GSMA, lauded Rwanda’s progress in technology and digital transformation, positioning the country as a leading innovator in Africa. He highlighted Rwanda’s extensive mobile connectivity and government efforts to make smartphones more affordable, including tax exemptions and partnerships.
Mobile connectivity continues to expand in Rwanda, covering almost 99 percent of the country, with over 11 million connections, of which more than 85 percent rely on mobile broadband technologies. Granryd recognized the ongoing work to ensure mobile internet access for all.