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Rwanda : ICT conference resolves on increased Internet access

20 July, at 11 : 58 AM Print

Experts in Information Technology in Rwanda have made a commitment to increase access to internet usage in rural areas of the country as a way of boosting entrepreneurship and business operations in Rwanda.

The resolution was made by various participants at the recently concluded National conference on role of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) held from July 9 to 13 at Kigali Institute of Technology (KIST), Muhabura Block in Kigali.

The conference was organized by Private Sector Federation ICT chamber, Ministry of youth and ICT, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and sponsored by organization from the Telecom and Internet Service Providers (ISP’s) sector- such as: MTN Rwanda, Bharti Airtel, Tigo, Altech Stream Rwanda, and Broadband Systems (BSC) among others.

The conference was held under the theme: the role of internet in promotion of mass media”, highlighted the achievements by Rwanda has made in increasing the use of internet, access to computer technology, the growth of web based information media, and use of phones among others.

The conference also discussed the role of the private sector in promoting use and access to information and the need to bridge the digital divide on access to information and services needed by the community.

The Minister of Youth and ICT, Jean Philbert Nsengimana said that Information Technology is one of the major priorities for Rwanda and it’s important that the access to internet services reach all the communities beyond the current 40% penetration rate.

He said that to implement this vision in Rwanda, the Ministry will to spearhead the government of Rwanda’s aspiration of developing science and technology in support of economic growth and poverty alleviation. As envisaged in vision 2020, Rwanda aims at becoming a modern nation, able to generate and disseminate technological knowledge and innovation—the country then becomes a centre of excellence at regional level in the area of technologies, particularly in ICT

Nsengimana called on the ICT sector to focus on healthy private sector involvement, employment initiatives especially among the youths, increase access to the community and available for all in much cheaper means.

“We need to focus on innovations in ICT. This should start with simple ideas which can be funded by banks and also create jobs instead of thinking of major projects which may not be materialized. This calls for creating ideas which are ICT oriented projects which are demand driven and able to bridge the gap in market and demand of service” Nsengimana said.

The minster also said that the use of ICT should be youth oriented that is why the government has embarked establishing youth empowerment for global opportunities (YEGO) -which will open the youth as point of delivery for youth in various ways- to get jobs, volunteer, ideas sharing. There are so far 24 Yego centers in the country located at sector levels.

Former senator Wellars Gasamagera, who is in the National ICT steering committee says that the  progress of ICT in Rwanda is commendable and the national strategy will focus on increasing the accessibility to information technology as reflected in the National ICT strategy and Plan (NICI 3-2015).

The Vice President of the Private sector ICT Chamber, Robert Ford Nkusi said that the increase of ICT dissemination in Rwanda should be followed by the involvement of the private sector in providing cheaper and affordable ICT services to the community, so as to boost the rural access to modern technological knowhow.

Communication companies have made a significant contribution in the increased access to Internet. As key partner in information and communication services, the MTN Rwanda representative, Dominique Ntirushwa, said that MTN is powering a new project (Data Innovation Centers) which will provide, for the community-high speed internet connectivity, free computer training and free internet access to students.

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