Over 3,000 Delegates to discuss Africa’s Connectivity Agenda

     
 
  

Story by Staff Reporter

Mr. Stanley Kamanguya, Chief Executive Officer of the ICT Authority in Kenya

Over three thousand (3000) delegates drawn from both public and private institutions globally will, from 21st to 25th April 2024, meet in Nairobi to discuss Africa’s connectivity matters.

During the five-day event dubbed Connected Africa Summit 2024, African heads of state, first ladies, African ICT ministers, policymakers, global ICT firms, academia, entrepreneurs, investors, and innovators will delve into conversations seeking to develop a roadmap to address the challenges facing the continent through ICT and innovation.

The main focus of the event, according to Kenya’s ICT Authority will be on addressing the Africa’s digital policy, infrastructure, and investment gaps that continue to widen the digital divide across the continent in line with the African Union’s Agenda 2063.

Mr. Stanley Kamanguya, CEO of the ICT Authority has noted that Africa has made significant strides in terms of connectivity, but the summit will drive conversations on how to integrate more developments in pursuit of a connected Africa.  

“We have made a lot of progress in terms of Connected Africa Summit preparations and this is a pivotal moment for us as Africa to shape the path for digital prosperity and power economy growth using digital technologies. By establishing mechanisms for sharing infrastructure across Africa and establishing mechanisms for us to set up data and interchange exchange points for Africa, we can be able to significantly reduce the cost of data that has to go to other continents and come back to Africa.” he said.

“We recently started discussions for us to be able to share the infrastructure that is already laid out in Kenya to assist or to collaborate with some of the countries that don’t have undersea cables landing into their countries. And we believe the same will apply across all other African countries so that we can establish intra-country connectivity that is going to go a long way in supporting some of the continental agendas.” said Kamanguya.

Africa’s internet penetration currently stands at just over 36%, with only 473 Million active internet users. Of these, 278 million users access the internet through their mobile phones. According to the African Union, over 300 million people live 50 KM away from an active fibre optic connection illustrating the continent’s large infrastructure gap.  

Increased connectivity and access to digital infrastructure are set to drive the growth of the digital economy across the African continent. Of the 38 African countries with access to the sea, 37 have one or more fibre optic cables connecting theme to them to different global sub-sea fibre optic rings. Despite the increased connectivity, African countries still face challenges in access due to a growing infrastructure gap.

About Connected Africa Summit 2024

Preparations for the summit began in December last year when Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Information, Communications and the Digital Economy, Eliud Owalo met with Ambassadors and High Commissioners to Kenya, Development partners, and the Private sector in preparation for the Connected Africa Summit 2024.  

Speaking at the event the Cabinet Secretary, noted that African countries face similar challenges in fostering the growth of the ICT Sector and need to formulate cross-cutting policies to attract investment and spur job creation.  

“The Connected Africa Summit 2024, will seek to address the various gaps and challenges facing the continent ranging from policy formulation to inadequate investment in infrastructure. The aim is to bring together key stakeholders drawn from Africa’s development ecosystem to address both the policy and investment gaps within the ICT sector.”  the CS said.   

Kenya’s Principal Secretary for ICT and Digital Economy Eng. John Tanui noted that the continent’s youthful population continues to innovate new solutions to tackle the challenges facing Africa but lacks the capital to scale their innovations.  

According to the African Tech Startups Funding Report 2022, there are currently over 400 Tech hubs across 93 African Cities spanning 42 African countries.  These hubs have attracted over $ 45 Billion in investment towards African ICT startups with $3.3 Billion directed towards 633 tech start-ups in 2022 alone.

“The Connected Africa Summit 2024 will act as a platform to identify further opportunities to scale this investment while bringing together thought leaders and policymakers to put in place the policies that will be needed to accelerate both infrastructure development and investment in the digital economy as envisioned in the African Union’s Agenda 2063.” the PS said. 

Africa’s internet penetration currently stands at just over 36% with only 473 Million active internet users. Of these 278 Million users access the internet through their mobile phones. According to the African Union, over 300 Million people live 50 Km away from an active fibre optic connection illustrating the continent’s large infrastructure gap.  

The Connected Africa Summit 2024 will serve as Africa’s Premier ICT and Innovation Platform through which the continent will take steps toward creating investor-friendly policies to enable it to bridge the digital divide and create smart villages.

Ends…


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