Source:  Milcah Lukhanyu/ Techmoran

Kenya  is scheduled to host the Connected Africa Summit 2024  aimed to bridge Africa’s digital divide. The Theme of the summit will be Digital Africa: Unlocking Growth Beyond Connectivity and it will focus on Africa’s ICT priorities guided by the African Union’s (AU) Agenda 2063. 

The inaugural continental ICT Summit will bring together African Heads of State, First Ladies, African ICT ministers, policymakers, Global ICT firms, Entrepreneurs, Investors, and Innovators to develop a roadmap to address the challenges facing the continent through ICT and innovation.  

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Information, Communications, and the Digital Economy CS Eliud Owalo, 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.   

The continental summit, scheduled for 15th to 18th April 2024, will focus on the role of Digital Technology to drive Africa’s access to intra-Africa trade through the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) focusing on the digital economy.   

Speaking on the opportunities for investment on the continent, ICT and Digital Economy PS 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.  

“While many see the ICT-related gaps on the continent ranging from infrastructure to access to devices as a challenge facing the continent, the Connected Africa Summit 2024 seeks to position these gaps as a key opportunity for the continent and like-minded development partners and investors. It is an opportunity for the continent to leapfrog and utilize smarter, more environmentally friendly innovations without the challenges brought about by the Third Industrial Revolution,” ICT Authority CEO Stanley Kamanguya said.  

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. The Summit will act as a platform where African leaders can position the African tech Agenda in readiness for the UN Summit of The Future to be held in September 2024 and determine their role in Green technology and Governance on Generative AI for African realities. 

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Source:  Milcah Lukhanyu/ Techmoran