WEF Africa 2016: connecting Africa’s resources through digital transformation


With Africa’s economy under pressure, the World Economic Forum on Africa meeting in Kigali, Rwanda, will look at how the continent’s technology industry can help overcome its challenges.

Kigali-textRwanda’s capital, Kigali will host this year’s WEF Africa. (Image: Flickr, Lori Howe)

Africa’s positive economic outlook is under pressure – mainly due to adverse changes in the global economy – and is expected to remain just below 5% in 2016.

As many countries in the region improve their investment climate and undertake macroeconomic policy reforms, foreign direct investment flows are expected to continue to grow, although at a slower pace.

Low global prices for major commodity exports, currency devaluations and debt sustainability considerations, as well as geosecurity threats that have weakened growth in some countries underscore the urgent need for economic diversification for sustained inclusive growth.

In this context, Africa’s leaders need to pursue new approaches to ignite structural transformation, particularly in the face of rapid technological changes that have the potential to create new industries and reduce inequality.

Under the theme Connecting Africa’s Resources through Digital Transformation, the 26th World Economic Forum on Africa, being held in Kigali, Rwanda, between 11-13 May, will bring together regional and global leaders from business, government and civil society.

They will discuss digital economy catalysts that can drive radical structural transformation, strengthen public-private collaboration on key global and regional challenges, and agree on strategic actions that can deliver shared prosperity across the continent.

Rwanda, the land of a thousand hills, has dramatically transformed since the 1994 genocide. The country is emerging as a regional high-tech hub and boasts one of sub-Saharan Africa’s fastest GDP growth rates. It is one of the continent’s most competitive economies and a top reformer in improving the business environment.

This remarkable progress showcases the country’s rapid evolution as a knowledge economy, powered by smart policies and investments. Nonetheless, further reforms and alliances are called for to accelerate development by leveraging digital transformation to expand socio-economic opportunities.

South Africa will be sending a delegation to Kigali for the conference. Follow them on Twitter using #SAinKigali.