Digital technology key to Africa growth— Lazarus Chakwera
By Taonga Sabola in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe:
President Lazarus Chakwera has said the only way for Africa to catch up with the rest of the world on socio-economic development is to take a shortcut by embracing digital technology.
Chakwera was speaking at the start of the 6th Transform Africa Summit which Smart Africa Alliance has organised in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.
He said Africa’s development has been delayed and derailed by, among other things, its detachment from the rest of the world, which deprived the continent of new ideas and innovations for economic progress.
Chakwera further said, at other times, Africa has been delayed by superstitions that resist new inventions and solutions that threaten old ideas.
He added that, for a long time, Africa was also delayed by decades of colonial occupation, as foreign nations from the west scrambled for Africa’s resources and used them to develop their own industries while leaving Africa underdeveloped.
“Now, as to the question of how we take such a leap frogging shortcut, the only way is for us to work hard on lifting the obstacles to digitisation and to work together on connecting the whole continent digitally so that Africa becomes a single digital market. That is why I am excited to be here to represent Malawi as the newest member of the Smart Africa Alliance.
“As far as I am concerned, there should be more heads of State here because if we are going to rise as a continent and leapfrog into the 4th Industrial Revolution powered by digitisation, then we must rise through technology, we must rise together and we must rise now,” Chakwera said.
The summit has attracted a number of African leaders including Paul Kagame of Rwanda, Emerson Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe, Hakainde Hichilema of Zambia, King Mswati III of eSwatini and others.
In his remarks, Kagame said Africa must move quickly to embrace artificial intelligence and make it work for the continent.
Kagame said transforming Africa means digitising the continent’s economies.
He said, already, many of the new quality jobs being created in Africa are powered by technology and connectivity.
“That applies even to traditional sectors like agriculture, mining and retail. This trend is only going to speed up,” Kagame said.