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Progressive regulation needed to improve e-governance Rwanda ICT minister

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Rwanda's Minister of ICT and Innovation, Paula Ingabire, has lauded African innovative initiatives such as Rwanda's Irembo, Kenya's Huduma, South Africa's biometric ID system, Ghana's digital acceleration project and Tanzania's digital employee management project.

However, even with these innovative initiatives, the minister said she believed that there is still a lot more that needs to be done to improve e-governance on the continent, including progressive regulation.

Ingabire shared these sentiments during her keynote address at the maiden Africa eGovernance Conference (AfreGov) in Kigali, Rwanda this week under the theme "Digital Governance for Social Inclusion and Sustainable Development."

"There is still a lot of work to do to realize Africa's full potential for digital transformation. To leapfrog into a digital future, we must first accelerate the regulatory readiness or organization of the regulatory landscape," she said.

"While digital transformation is on the rise in Africa, many countries are lacking and have been inconsistent in their national economic objectives and this hampers efficient service delivery and slows down the pace of Africa's rapid change and growth," Ingabire explained.

Rwanda's minister of ICT and innovation, Paula Ingabire, and Africa eGovernance Conference convener Adeyinka Adeyemi.   (Source: Africa eGovernance Conference)
Rwanda's minister of ICT and innovation, Paula Ingabire, and Africa eGovernance Conference convener Adeyinka Adeyemi.
(Source: Africa eGovernance Conference)

Ingabire believes it is essential that African government's include data protection frameworks and measures to safeguard their people's data and rights.

"We need progressive regulation to achieve seamless digital governance and inclusion across the continent," she continued.

Furthermore, she added that enhancing infrastructure readiness was crucial and alongside the right frameworks, Africa needs multidimensional approaches to ensure that citizens have the right digital skills and the means to thrive in the digital economy.

Growing innovation-led service delivery

Nardos Bekele-Thomas, CEO of the Africa Union Development Agency – New Partnership for Africa's Development (AUDA-NEPAD), echoed Ingabire's stance that despite the strides that have been made, a lot needs to be done on the continent.

"Our path to inclusive economic transformation is clear. We must bridge the digital divide, invest in digital infrastructure, and champion innovation-led service delivery," Bekele-Thomas said.

Caroline Makasa, the director general at the Centre for Africa, Rwanda, said conferences like these should not become talk shops and at the end of the conference, everyone must walk away with actionable plans.

Africa eGovernance Conference convener Adeyinka Adeyemi highlighted the importance of e-governance. Citing that the concept behind the conference came from a need not only to create a roadmap for e-governance in Africa, but also to track its progress.

"We wanted to work with different governments and make sure that there is a clear roadmap that says to actualize the Africa we want, we need to deploy technology and have inclusive governance," he added.

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*Top image is of Rwanda's Minister of ICT and Innovation Paula Ingabire. (Source: Africa eGovernance Conference.)

Matshepo Sehloho, Associate Editor, Connecting Africa

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