ICT to lift Africa out of poverty, says AfDB

An impression of the Konza Technopolis Park in Malili, Machakos. AfDB's board is set to approve a loan of 100 million dollars to be used to construct infrastructure at Konza City, Kenya's Technology City. PHOTO/FILE

What you need to know:

  • AfDB's board is set to approve a loan of 100 million dollars to be used to construct infrastructure at Konza City, Kenya's Technology City.
  • Negatu said that ICT is an enabler that will allow Africa's goods and services to be globally competitive.
  • Microsoft Group Director Venture Capital and Start-ups Africa Initiatives Amrote Abdella said that ICT has been one of the fastest growing sectors in Africa.

African Development Bank (AfDB) has said the use of Information Communication and Technology (ICT) could lift Africa out of poverty.

Regional Director Gabriel Negatu on Tuesday told journalists in Nairobi that his institution will therefore provide financing to the tune of hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars to build all aspects of Africa's ICT infrastructure in next five years.

"We want to make ICT affordable and accessible to Africans so that it can play a role in reducing the level of poverty in the continent," Negatu said during a media briefing on the Demo Africa Conference which runs from Oct. 24 to 25.

The two-day event will provide a platform for technology start- ups to pitch for funding as well as technical support.

Negatu said that ICT is an enabler that will allow Africa's goods and services to be globally competitive.

"A number of countries including Kenya and Rwanda have made advancements in the sector as a result of implementing comprehensive ICT policies," he said.

"The use of mobile communication will also ensure that government services are more available to the public," the regional director said.

AfDB's board is set to approve a loan of 100 million dollars to be used to construct infrastructure at Konza City, Kenya's Technology City.

"It will be used to construct a dam as a well as modern water and sewerage system," he said.

He noted that the bank will assist in the development of an ICT backbone so that commercial entities are attracted to the new city.

The regional director said that the ground breaking of the dam will take place by the end of 2013. Negatu said that the AfDB will also fund the construction of a power plant that will generate 20 MW of electricity for the ICT city.

Microsoft Group Director Venture Capital and Start-ups Africa Initiatives Amrote Abdella said that ICT has been one of the fastest growing sectors in Africa.

"Local entrepreneurs are well equipped to solve local challenges and their success will result in improved job opportunities," she said.

Nokia Vice President of Middle East and Africa Jussi Hinkkanen said that innovations will be critical if Africa is to positively transform its technology landscape.

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