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EQUALS Access Coalition at Transform Africa Summit 2018

EQUALS Access Coalition partners performing the universal symbol for digital gender equality

Transform Africa Summit (TAS) is the leading annual conference on Africa’s technological transformation. This year, the Summit took place in Kigali, Rwanda from May 7 - 10, under the theme of "Accelerating Africa’s Single Digital Market." Over 4 000 delegates from 75 countries discussed how to promote policies that help drive the continent’s digital revolution.

In his opening speech, President Paul Kagame emphasized that, "Our strategic investments… will only have their full impact if they are matched by efforts to ensure all sectors of our society can access the benefits."

Rwanda's President Paul Kagame at TAS 2018. Image source: ITU

EQUALS Partners from the Access Coalition convened around the Summit. The Coalition, led by the GSM Association (GSMA) is driving coordinated efforts to increase women’s access and use of the Internet. Rwanda has been selected as a target country for coordinated action, where the Coalition aims to contribute to bridging the digital gender divide.

The meeting was attended by the GSMA, Germany, Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT), the World Economic Forum (WEF), the Web Foundation, Internet Society, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the Government of Rwanda, and the African Development Bank (ADB) to discuss ongoing and future coordinated activities in Rwanda.

"The Access Coalition is very global in perspective, yet it is important to remember local implementation," said a representative from Germany. As such, the meeting centered around the discussion of the Rwandan Digital Ambassadors Program (R-DAP) launched in 2013. This initiative is led by the Rwandan Ministry of Information Technology and Communication (MITEC), which aims to drive digital inclusion by training young Digital Ambassadors to help citizens in their communities learn digital skills and adopt e-services. In alignment with the Rwanda Digital Talent Policy and the World Economic Forum’s Internet for All Initiative, R-DAP aims to increase Rwandans’ digital literacy and bridge the ICT skills gap. This is the flagship program of the coalition’s engagement in the country with Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT) as the main implementing partner.

The program recently concluded its first implementation phase which successfully reached (as of 1 June 2018) 17,647 people across the country, of which 49% are women. In phase two, this initiative will be scaled at a national level, and a gender strategy will be developed to strengthen the opportunities to build digital skills for women and girls. R-DAP is great example of successful collaboration of various EQUALS partners; it is led by DOT with the assistance of WEF, and has received important contributions from GSMA, ISOC and the Web Foundation.

EQUALS Access Coalition meeting

During the meeting, the Access Coalition also discussed other coordinated action efforts to drive digital inclusion for women in Rwanda and other countries.

Read more about the EQUALS Access Coalition here

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