Smart Africa Convenes 27 African countries for its 9th Board Meeting
The Smart Africa Alliance hosted its 9th Board Meeting virtually on the 7th of December 2020. The meeting was chaired by His Excellency President Paul Kagame, Chairman of the Board and attended by 27 countries represented by 10 Heads of State and Government, one Vice President and 15 delegated Ministers.
The Heads of State and Government in attendance are:
- H.E. President Paul Kagame (Rwanda)
- H.E. President Prof. Alpha Condé (Guinée)
- H.E. Ismail Omar Guelleh (Djibouti)
- H.E. President Felix Tshisekedi (DRC)
- H.E. President Bah Ndaw (Mali)
- H.E. Roch Marc Christian Kaboré (Burkina Faso)
- H.E. President Sahle-Work Zewde (Ethiopia)
- H.E. President Edgar Lungu (Zambia)
- H.E. President Emmerson Mnangagwa (Zimbabwe)
- H.E. Clément Moumba, Prime Minister of the Republic of Congo)
The countries represented in the Board meeting are Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Congo, DR Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia Gabon, Guinée, Kenya, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Senegal, South Africa, South Sudan, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe
Platinum level members of the Smart Africa Alliance were represented by Tata Communications & Transformation Services, Tahaluf, Orange and CIB (Egypt). International Organisations and partners included the African Union, the ITU, the African Development Bank (AfDB), UNECA, UNICEF, Africa 50, the Norwegian Development Agency (NORAD), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Benya Capital and BICS.
The meeting welcomed the Islamic Republic of Mauritania as the 31st country member of the Smart Africa Alliance.
- Bulk broadband capacity project approved – this is an initiative to improve internet use in Africa by up to 500% and to reduce costs by up to 50% through bulk internet purchase. This is where countries buy internet as a single block to get discounted costs and greater negotiating leverage.
- Launch of the Digital ID Blueprint for Africa – This is an initiative to have an interoperable digital ID system across Africa spearheaded by the Republic of Benin. Digital Identity and the digital economy are intertwined with digital ID as the basis for digital economy. Digital ID will therefore facilitate the participation of Africans in the digital economy yielding dividends for inclusion and the overall growth and development of the continent.
- Launch of the Smart Broadband 2025 Blueprint for Africa – which is a flagship project to increase broadband penetration in Africa from 34% to 50% by 2025. Research shows that an increase of broadband penetration results in an increase in GDP per capita growth thus impacting the lives of millions of people.Therefore, we aim to transition 12 additional countries to over 20% broadband penetration – a penetration level which provides a threshold of widespread realization of digital economy benefits.
- Launch of the ICTStartUps and Innovation Ecosystem Blueprint – In order to support entrepreneurs across Africa, Smart Africa has developed the Africa Startups and ICT Ecosystems Blueprint, under the leadership of the Republic of Tunisia. Together with the 30 Smart Africa Alliance member countries, the program seeks to create optimum conditions for them to thrive through startup acts.The purpose of this flagship project is to strengthen the knowledge on the key challenges faced by African ICT start-ups and innovators as well as the best practices developed in the world including the Smart Africa Alliance ecosystem. Smart Africa provides legal, policy, regulatory, institutional and implementation recommendations conducive to spur the development of robust and sustainable ICT start – ups and innovation in Africa.
- Launch of the Smart Villages Blueprint – 59% of the people in Africa live in rural areas. They face high levels of poverty, low-income levels, poor infrastructure and lack of internet connectivity with the worst connectivity rates in the world.
In order to address this, Smart Africa has launched the smart villages flagship project championed by the Republic of Niger. This is a holistic and inclusive approach for rural digital transformation aimed at achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in remote and underserved communities where:
- Citizens have access to network infrastructure via connected devices.
- Where citizens can access impactful and transformational SDG-related digital services, as they need them, on time, anywhere and all the time.
- Where services are customized for the specific SDG needs of citizens.
- Where integrated SDG-related services are continuously improving and adapting to changes.
- Where partner organizations involved are continuously learning and adapting their services.
- Where government shows leadership and political will by departing radically from territorial, silo behaviour, and adopt an integrated, cross-ministerial, cross-sectoral, whole-of-government approach to planning and implementation.
6. Launch of the Smart Africa Digital Academy (SADA) – SADA is Smart Africa’s capacity building and learning institute and is proud to partner with the Atingi learning platform to create a multi-stakeholder alliance that will enable African citizens to develop digital skills and focus on competency-based learning which will offer 4 keys services
- Capacity building for decision-makers
- Programs for digital inclusion
- Skills marketplace for professionals
- And a talent bridge for businesses.
The blockchain-based SADA certificate will provide evidence of the new skills and competencies gained through our training and courses.
In 2020, the SADA platform trained over 200 policy and decision-makers from 21 African countries.
In the coming years, SADA will use the partnership with the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and the World Bank, to train and develop a New Generation of policymakers and regulators who utilize agile policies and regulations to unleash the full potential of the digital transformation of Africa.
Moreover, the Board approved the proposed dates (September 8th, 9th and 10th, 2021) for the Transform Africa Summit 2021 as well as the proposed date (September 7th, 2021) for the next Board meeting.
About Smart Africa
Smart Africa is an alliance of 31 African countries, international organisations and global private sector players tasked with Africa’s digital agenda. The alliance is empowered by a bold and innovative commitment by African Heads of State to accelerate sustainable socioeconomic development on the continent and usher Africa into the knowledge economy through affordable access to broadband and use of ICTs. With a vision to create a single digital market in Africa by 2030, the Smart Africa Alliance brings together Heads of State who seek to accelerate the digitalization of the continent and create a common market.
Launched in 2013 by seven (7) African Heads of State, the Alliance now has 30 member countries, representing over 750 million people and over 40 Private Sector members committed to the vision and the advancement of Africa.