According to a report by The New Times, President Paul Kagame of Rwanda has called on African governments to ensure increase access to Internet connectivity for its citizens through close partnership with industry. Mr. Kagame said close collaboration with industry will ensure that the required investments are made so citizens can benefit from the digital economy. Speaking at the 5th Transform Africa Summit in Kigali, which was also attended by the Presidents of Kenya and Mali, Mr. Kagame also called for investments in digital skills to ensure citizens acquire new skills that will help secure and create jobs.
The impact of the Internet on businesses and the global economy has been crucial in shaping new economic models, and at the same time, raising new concerns.
The Internet is one of the primary drivers of economic growth, which is visible in many countries that have placed the development of ICT as one of the primary tools for boosting the economy.
The need for people to gain access to ICT resources and narrow the digital divide is crucial, and is especially relevant now in the light of the Sustainable Development Goals. It is also important to understand how access to the Internet affects the level of economic and social development in a country.
Internet access is growing rapidly, yet large groups of people remain unconnected to the Internet. As of 2015, about 43% of people had access to the Internet (in developing countries only 34%). Access to ICTs is part of the Sustainable Development Agenda, which commits to ‘significantly increase access to ICTs and strive to provide universal and affordable access to the Internet in least developed countries by 2020’ (Goal 9.c).