The Transform Africa Summit’s 6th edition was a huge success as signified by the attendance of 5 Heads of State who graced the highly attended summit that brought together leaders who champion the digitalization of trade payments in the continent. Highlights of the event included; new memberships in the Smart Africa Alliance like The Kingdom of Eswatini which became the 37th member state of the alliance as it celebrated its 10th anniversary this year and major signings of agreements.
The Summit’s director general Mr. Lacina Kone lauded the presence of presidents from the republics of Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Malawi, and Zambia, and his majesty, the king of Eswatini. As he pointed out this is evidently a testimony of Africa’s political commitment at the highest level “in our actions for the digital transformation of our continent”.
Additionally, it was revealed that the Republics of Gambia and Botswana are also closing in on the process to join the Alliance. Unleft out are the private sector members including Irembo, Ascend Digital, and Asmos Consulting Africa also formalized their memberships during the summit.
One of the major signings was a $1.5 million project by Smart Africa and the African Development Bank to streamline digital trade and e-commerce policies across 10 African countries.
Second was an agreement between Smart Africa and the African Continental Free Trade Area Secretariat to enhance collaboration in information, communication, and technology to develop a Single Digital Market for Africa within the African Continental Free Trade Area.
Third was the signing of the Smart Africa Trust Alliance (SATA) by 8 founding Member States to connect all systems through a trust framework.
More partnerships that were seen in agreements included the sectors of connectivity, digital infrastructure, cybersecurity, entrepreneurship, and capacity building. Some of which included the signings with the I4Policy foundation, Hitachi Systems Security, Zhejiang, Gaia-x European Association for Data, Internet Society, and Estonian Association of Information Technology & Telecommunications (ITL).
Following the agreement prior to the summit that established Smart Africa as an international organization as it celebrates its 10 years anniversary this year, the Republic of Rwanda ratified an agreement establishing the Smart Africa Alliance by the Republic of Rwanda. Becoming the 5th member state to ratify the agreement and officially bring it into force following its adoption by the 11th Smart Africa Board Meeting.
Remarking on the event, President of the Republic of Zimbabwe H.E. Emmerson Mnangagwa, said the summit is essential and these timings of its convention are one when lessons from the covid-19 pandemic have given us impetus for Africa to develop its own capabilities.