Kagame Believes Social Media Can Transform Africa
African scientists and leaders are gathered in Senegalese capital Dakar to brainstorm on how the continent’s science and technology can contribute solutions to global challenges.
This is the first time such a gathering is taking place in Africa. Organisers say the forum has attracted about 1,000 African scientists from more than 100 countries.
Dubbed the Next Einstein Forum (NEF)-2016, the three-day global science and technology forumÂ is where participants talk about “collaboration, innovation and solutions”
Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame has joined other seven African presidents at this inaugural forum including the host Senegal President Macky Sall.
Kagame, the ‘Digital President’ is an ardent promoter of use of technology and believes in investing in the country’s youth.
For him, “Social media helps connect people, ideas and the world. We are part of that.”
The Rwandan leader who has deeply embraced e-governance, uses social media to easily interact with citizens including people across the world .
His twitter handle @paulkagame has attracted 1,360,000 followers up from 590,782 followers in October 2014. Only the Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta comes close to this with 1,350,000 followers.
Out of politics Kagame will use twitter to for example express his unwavering support to Arsenal football club….” A relaxed moment to talk a bit about ftball. Arsenal is still my team! But Leicester is the team to beat for this season’s EPL trophy !!!..”
Kagame’s leadership team from the district mayors to cabinet ministers have taken to social media to interact with the public. Various Ministers regularly hold ‘Ask-the-minister’ sessions to respond to several issues.
Rwanda has invested over $130 million in broadband internet connecting 97 government agencies in the capital Kigali and 226 agencies in 30 districts. Currently 8,759,619 citizens use mobile phones.
The country has a population of 11 million people.
“The continent has an understanding, that we cannot reach development without investing in our people,” Kagame told the forum.
Focused on transforming Rwanda into a Knowledge based economy, Kagame’s government has enabled 2.5 million children to access computers through ‘One Laptop per Child (OLPC) project.
“Youth can be a huge resource and opportunity depending on how you invest with and in them,” President Kagame told said at the ongoing NEF2016 forum in Senegal.
Rwanda is gradually experiencing a boom in youth projects and a massive growth of ICT currently contributing 3% of the GDP representing more than all agriculture exports combined.
Kagame announced that Rwanda will host the global headquarters for AIMS-African Institute for Mathematical Sciences and will also host the forthcoming NEF2017.