African policymakers seek consensus to drive growth of ICT sector
Senior African policymakers on Monday resolved to adopt a common position aimed at propelling growth of ICT sector and embed it in the Continent’s transformation agenda.
The policymakers and experts who met in Nairobi for a preparatory meeting ahead of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) summit to be held in Dubai in October, said that a consensus is required to hasten the fourth industrial revolution in Africa that is based on technology and innovations.
Joe Mucheru, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for ICT, stressed that harmonization of policy and regulatory frameworks is key to ensure the benefits of digital revolution in Africa are spread evenly.
“Africa should safeguard its interests in the global ICT arena by speaking in one voice. Our collective obligation going forward is to ensure there is uniformity in policies and regulations to reap from the benefits that the digital era has ushered,” Mucheru said.
Kenya hosted the 4th African preparatory meeting to craft the continent’s common position that will be submitted at this year’s meeting of top decision making organ, the International Tele-communications Union.
It is hoped that by speaking with one voice, African countries will be able to gain leverage required to harness benefits linked to global ICT development.
“We should not lose on the fourth industrial revolution which is driven by ICT and our collective efforts to harness emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, internet of things and block chain will boost out socioeconomic development,” said Mucheru.
He noted that ICT and innovations sub-sector across Africa is on a growth trajectory thanks to enactment of friendly policies, macro-economic stability and the youth bulge.
African countries are united in their quest for rapid growth of the ICT sector that will help address the continent’s endemic socioeconomic challenges like poverty, disease, environmental depletion and illiteracy.
Abdoulkarim Soumaila, the Secretary General of Nairobi based African Telecommunications Union, said reactivating growth of the Continent’s ICT sector has gained traction amid rapid transition to knowledge-based economy that promise shared prosperity.