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1 June, at 18 : 12 PM Print
As Rwanda progresses in bridging the digital divide, Rwandans living in Nyagatare district have made a remarkable embraced the use of Information, Communication and Technology to transform their lives.
Eric Munyawera, a resident of Rwimiyaga Sector in Nyagatare District says that unlike in the past, when internet was viewed as a luxury for the rich ones, he is now benefiting the use it to communicate effectively with the rest of the world.
It was unheard of in the past for someone to touch a computer, let alone using the internet. But with the increased access to ICT services, this trend is now changing in the rural communities” he says.
“I can now use the internet to communicate to his brother living abroad and send information anywhere in the world as long as am connected. This saves our time and transport”.
Other residents also say that the access to ICT services, like cyber cafes and wireless internet in hotels and mobile phones has made life and business easier in the 20th century. Among other initiatives that have made this possible is the partnership with the Nyagatare Business Development Centre, Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT) – who have been providing training, in essential technology and business skills under its ‘ReachUp’ program, to young women and men.
“This has also been boosted by the awareness, training, low costs and increased need for use of technology in all aspects of life today” says Odette Mukamana, a businesswoman.
Though Nyagatare district is largely agricultural and livestock based community, it is one of the fastest growing districts in Rwanda with increased numbers of ICT services in schools and businesses in the private sector.
Nyagatare has Literacy rate of 70%) among population aged 15 and above. The 2010/11 Integrated Household Living Conditions Survey (EICV 3) results of a broader approach, investigating computer literacy in the overall population aged six and above that have used a computer before and would feel confident about using one again.
The survey results show that 2.8% of population aged six and above in Nyagatare district has used a computer before and would feel confident using one again. It is ranked first among Eastern Province districts. Among the urban population, 14% can be classified as computer literate, but this applies to only 2% of the rural population. Only 4% at national level can be classified as computer literate.
During the 4th Edition of ICT Literacy and Awareness Campaign in Eastern Province in Nyagatare District, he Minister of Youth and ICT, Jean Philbert Nsengimana urged residents in to embrace and effectively use ICT in everything they’re doing to boost their production.
The Governor of Eastern Province, Odette Uwamariya told local residents to embrace technologies, in homes and work places to realize and maximize on their full potential.
Last year, the International Telecommunication Union report named Rwanda, Bahrain, Brazil, Ghana, Kenya, and Saudi Arabia as developing nations with strong dynamic ICT markets because of catching up fast in efforts to bridge the ‘digital divide’.
Rwanda has been ranked among the top 10 countries in Africa that are in better position to benefit from new information and communication technologies.
The 2013 Networked Readiness Index, released on Wednesday by the World Economic Forum (Wef) and European Institute of Business Administration (INSEAD), considers several aspects, including a country’s market and regulatory framework in advancing ICT for inclusive development.
The report recognises Rwanda’s efforts to transform its agrarian economy into a knowledge-based one by 2020, using ICT.
“Rwanda’s ICT investments in education, partnerships with foreign universities and the laying of fibre-optic cables have created a conducive environment. Services such as E-Soko, a mobile service that allows farmers to check market prices for their products, have already improved the daily life of many Rwandans,” the report says.
Rwanda has been on several occasions ranked, by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) among the most dynamic performers when it comes to ICT development globally.