KIGALI, Jan. 19 (Xinhua) -- Rwandan President Paul Kagame Thursday highlighted the vital role of the private sector in national digital strategy development at the ongoing World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos.
Appearing on a panel Thursday during an interactive session to debate on "Shaping a National Digital Strategy", Kagame pointed out that although governments may play the pivotal role in integrating digital technology into policy, the private sector is inevitably needed as a partner in terms of innovation and investment.
Kagame assured that while Africa started from a low base it aims to move as fast as possible, with the understanding that the benefits outweigh the risks.
The panel aimed at discussing how national digital strategies unlock leapfrogging opportunities for countries.
"We focus on solutions and get rid of problems. Public-private partnership is vital in digital development with the understanding that connecting the unconnected is huge potential. If connected this large number will contribute to returns. As partners we have the opportunity to talk about good returns without having to be expensive, thereby inhibiting accessibility," Kagame said.
The Rwandan leader explained that by integrating ICT in the national strategy and planning, Rwanda had registered a big leap between 2003 and 2016, where connectivity grew by 30 percent.
He said that there was a notable shift to investment that can touch people's lives long term and will enable people to provide for themselves.
On correlation between national education systems and digital development, Kagame said national digital strategies must ensure that the education systems are streamlined so that the skills produced are in line with the needs for digital development.
The panel is moderated by Angel Gurria, Secretary-General of Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. Guests included Herman Gref, CEO and Chairman of the Board at Sberbank, Russia, Doris Leuthard, President of the Swiss Confederation elect 2017 and Federal Councillor of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications of Switzerland and Gavin Patterson, CEO of BT Group, United Kingdom.
Digitization and innovation in Africa is increasingly local and impact is evident across sectors such as banking, health, agriculture, transport and trade.