Tuesday, April 16

Chakwera Challenges Africa To Embrace Digitalisation For Socio Economic Development

President Dr Lazarus Chakwera has urged all African countries to remove obstacles and embrace digital technologies as a quick gateway to socio-economic development.

President Chakwera made the remarks at Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe where he attended the 6th Edition of the Transform Africa Summit.

Addressing hundreds of delegates including fellow African leaders, Dr Chakwera said it is sad that Africa’s development has been delayed and sometimes derailed due to detachment from the rest of the world which deprived the continent of new ideas and innovations.

The Malawi leader also blamed decades of colonial occupation which led to a scramble for Africa’s resources by the West, who used them to develop their industries.

“They colonized us and took away our mineral resources for their development, while we remained poor,” lamented Dr Chakwera.

He said recently the continent has witnessed a new scramble for Africa, between the West and the East who seek to dominate the industries of tomorrow using Africa’s rich mineral resources.

However, Dr Chakwera said all is not lost and suggested the adoption of digital technologies in all sectors of life as the only shortcut to development.

“There is a shortcut to development, let’s all embrace digital technologies in all sectors, be it in agriculture and food systems, health, education, commerce and industrialization to change the status quo,” he said.

The Malawi leader also urged African countries to remove barriers or obstacles that impede the quest to connect the whole continent so that Africa becomes a single digital market.

Also concurring with President Chakwera were President Hakainde Hichilema of Zambia and the Host Emmerson Mnangagwa who said digitalization should be used to increase food production and commerce among and between countries.

He also highlighted the importance of education hence more investment in innovation is required.

Chairperson of the Smart Africa Alliance, President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, asked African countries to open up to innovations including Artificial Intelligence.

Director General of Smart Africa, Lacine Kone, bemoaned the low internet penetration in Africa, which stands at 39 percent and efforts are needed to get people connected.

The Transform Africa 2023 brought together Heads of State including President Dr Lazarus Chakwera, Ministers of Information and ICT, executives of telecom companies, Top ICT influencers, young entrepreneurs and the academia to discuss how digital technologies can be harnessed to accelerate economic growth and improve quality of life for citizens.

Meanwhile, Malawi, Zambia, and Eswatini are some of the countries that have joined the Smart Africa Initiative.

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