Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente has implored business leaders from India and Africa to partner in driving digital transformation and sustain their business growth.
“I hope both business communities from Africa and India can connect and innovate new ways of creating and capturing value while sustaining their business growth,” the premier said as he officiated at the opening of the India-Africa ICT Expo in Kigali yesterday.
He said India and Africa have been doing business with extensive shared interests in fields like agriculture, education, healthcare and construction, among others, which both business communities can tap into.
The India-Africa ICT expo, focuses on the role of a transformative switch for socio-economic transformation in Africa through Information Communications and Technology.
The meeting is bringing together stakeholders to discuss possible collaborations and partnerships in ICTs to accelerate digital transformation.
Ngirente pointed out that Africa has given priority to ICT to achieve full digital transformation such as affordable and reliable connectivity for all, smart devices penetration, and growing a mind-set that drives digitization.
In that sense, he stated, India was one of the model countries of how technology has radically transformed every aspect of the economy and lives of people.
“This forum therefore, gives us an opportunity to draw lessons from India’s experience as Indian companies explore and also learn from Africa’s experience,” he said.
As the continent consolidates efforts in the drive to accelerate the digital transformation, the premier also highlighted that the aim was to leverage on partnerships with India and utilize the expo as a platform to increase collaboration between public and private sectors.
He observed that such collaborations will expand the size of markets, facilitate the sharing of innovations, technologies, solutions and business models that will benefit all.
With the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in effect, he added, Africa becomes the largest free trade area in the world, suggesting that this will provide access to an even wider market that will boost intra-Africa trade.
“This is a remarkable market opportunity for investors to explore the benefits that this bloc will bring,” he said.
The Prime Minister told the ICT business communities to find a common ground on the required frameworks to facilitate the digital technologies and innovation in Africa, reiterating that with forums like India Africa ICT expo, the two countries can collectively determine ways to reduce trade barriers that may slow progress.
Africa and the Asian nation have been enjoying some impressive business relations with trade between the two growing over time from $7.2 billion in 2001 to more than $60 billion in 2018.
Paula Ingabire, Rwanda’s ICT & Innovation Minister indicated that the idea was to enhance partnerships between the two communities to co-create innovative solutions that are transformational.