On Monday, February 11, 2019, on the sidelines of the 32nd Ordinary Session of the African Union, in Addis Ababa, the new Director General of the Smart Africa Alliance Secretariat was nominated at the 7th meeting of its Board.
Ivorian Lacina Koné replaces Malian Dr. Hamadoun Touré, who has held the position since January 2016.
Mr Lacina Koné, previously advisor to the Ivorian Prime Minister in charge of the Digital Economy and IT Reform, has been nominated for a three-year term as head of the Smart Africa Secretariat.
This Alliance was created in 2013 to put digital transformation at the core of the continent’s economic development, gathering the private sector and member states on concrete initiatives.
Mr. Lacina Koné has more than 25 years of experience in the telecommunications, satellite and intelligent transportation systems sectors.
This 52-year-old ICT industry professional has spent most of his career in the United States working for companies such as satellite telecom provider Intelsat and IT giant Booz Allen Hamilton, where he held several high level technical and management positions.
Prior to his appointment, Mr. Koné was General Manager of Qualicom, a company specialized in the integration of IT solutions, established in Mali and Cote d’Ivoire.
From 2011 to 2017, he was advisor to President Alassane Ouattara in charge of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT).
Trilingual French, English and Arabic, he holds a bachelor’s degree in electronic engineering, a master’s degree in data communication and an MBA.
He replaces Dr Hamadoun Touré, who has been the Executive Director of the Smart Africa Secretariat since its operational start in January 2016, and whose actions have allowed it to flourish.
During its term of office, the Alliance has grown from 7 to 24 Member States, over 30 Private Companies including seven (7) Platinum Members and major initiatives have been launched, such as the One African Network (OAN) project, which aims to phase out roaming between African countries and reduce Internet tariffs.
Other flagship projects have been initiated, such as the Smart Africa Scholarship Fund initiative, which will allow African students to benefit from scholarships to qualify for Master’s training or other certification in the best ICT centres on the continent.
For its part, the Smart Africa investment fund dedicated to start-up aims to raise $ 500 million to support their development across the continent.
Mr. Koné will have many challenges to meet in order to enable the Alliance to continue its development and consolidate its role as a major lever for Africa’s development.