During the EU-AF Economic Integration and Digital Infrastructure forum, Bekele said that,
“...even when we expand to the rural areas, we need the entire ecosystem to work! not just pieces of the new technologies, like when we were trying to implement the internet kiosk concept in the past. Most projects were actually failing due to this integration mistake.”
This comes at a time when only 35,9% of internet penetration happens in Africa compared with a 56% world average, and thus there is a huge and increasing demand for data and increasing opportunities for 5G and fibre, digital and broadband infrastructure investment.
On his part, José Manuel Durão Barroso, Chairman of the EurAfrican Forum told the forum that
"There is a shift in the way we are now looking into the relations between Europe and Africa, which I believe is much more constructive, both for Africa and for the European Union. (…) but it’s probably more important, more strategic to think how we can put societies together, creating a higher level of complicity between Africa and Europe."
Filipe de Botton, President of the Board of the Portuguese Diaspora Council stated that
“The mission of the Portuguese Diaspora Council was until today to help Portugal. We think today we should go to the next step: to motivate the African countries to create their own Diaspora Councils.”
The forum received thematic contributions of
40 international speakers, a participation of
450 participants, from 17 European countries and 24 African countries, including the participation of His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Mozambique, Filipe Nyusi, and His Excellency, the President the Portuguese Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.