Kagame talks innovation & technology for Africa

September 19, 2008 • Top Stories

The President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, has urged the developed world to assist the developing countries through innovation and technology.Kagame was speaking yesterday at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

The Rwandan leader was a guest speaker for the Compton Lecture Series, talking about the “Imperative of Science and Technology in Accelerating African and Rwandan Development.”

According to The Tech, Kagame started his talk by saying that he wanted to reflect on “the imperative of focusing and utilising science and technology,” to effect Africa’s socioeconomic transformation.

He called on the MIT community to take part in this effort to put innovation and entrepreneurship at the forefront of Rwanda’s most valuable resource, its people. Kagame highlighted the One Laptop per Child initiative that is bringing computers to children in developing countries.
Most of his talk centered on the positive benefits of mobile phone technology. “Africa is the fasted growing market for mobile phones,” said Kagame adding that there were 28 million subscribers in the first quarter of 2008 alone.

Mobile phones have been influential in spinning off small retail businesses as well as playing a leading role in narrowing the digital divide, said Kagame. Mobile phones have also allowed businesses in Rwanda to become global by allowing them to reach customers outside of their immediate neighborhood. Outside of business, Kagame gave an example of Voxiva as an effective public-private partnership to address public health through mobile phones.

Voxiva allows users to relay data from the field in real time which is particularly useful in the exchange of patient data from remote areas.

The Compton Lecture Series was established in 1957 with the mission to “bring to MIT some of the great minds on the world scene.” It is named in honor of former MIT President Karl Taylor Compton who led the Institute during the Great Depression and the Second World War.

By Reporter



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