Rwandan President Paul Kagame on Thursday called on Africa to use the opportunities presented by the Fourth Industrial Revolution to transform itself into a full partner on the global stage.
Kagame made the remarks at the official opening of the World Economic Forum on Africa in Kigali.
"Africa should not be still playing catch-up when the fifth revolution comes around," he said.
Kagame called for "a continent free of pity and apprehension, a place of opportunity and partnership."
The transformative power of technology lies at the core of the vision of a Fourth Industrial Revolution, as articulated by Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum.
Kagame noted that technology is not a "magic bullet" in itself, but a tool for wisely tackling the challenges faced by Africa.
The Rwandan leader cited efficient, reliable and stable capital markets as key to providing access to funding for growth.
He pointed out that development and growth are about more than machines, describing Africa's people as an enormous resource.
Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina, President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), and a Co-Chair of the World Economic Forum on Africa, said Africa has "no choice but to be ambitious" in embracing the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
One of the greatest priorities for the continent, he said, is universal electrification to allow digital technology to play its role in transforming lives.
"Africa is tired of being in the dark. This is why the African Development Bank will spend 12.5 billion U.S. dollars in the next five years on its New Deal in Electricity," he said.
Graca Machel, Founder of Foundation for Community Development (FDC), Mozambique, and a Co-Chair of the World Economic Forum on Africa, said it is crucial that the Fourth Revolution "does not leave anyone behind."
The first three revolutions left Africans as a whole behind, with women in particular being abandoned, according to her.