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The 4 Key ICT Sector Challenges for Rwandan Socio-Economic Transformation

By Guest Writer on February 17, 2013

The Rwanda ICT Sector Profile for the year 2012 is a compilation of indicators that have been selected to measure the Rwanda’s ICT sector performance and track ICT for Development (ICT4D) towards Rwanda Socio-Economic Transformation and provide valuable information for the formulation of National policies.

rwanda-ict-sector-profileThis profile particularly features the ICT for Socio-Economic Development in Rwanda, particularly for the five priority sectors namely, the Governance Sector, the Health Sector, the Education Sector, the Agriculture sector and the Business & Finance Sector, with a special focus on tracking the use of the deployed systems and applications.

The year 2012 has shown a particular and continued uptake in the utilization of ICT, especially in terms of mobile-cellular subscriptions, International Internet bandwidth, and mobile-broadband subscriptions, bringing more citizens connected to Internet. Key ICT achievements have also been highlighted, in order to inform readers of major developments that happened in 2012.

The measurement of the impact of ICT for Socio-Economic Development, that is tracked for the very first year, show that there are still important efforts to be made to increase the usage of systems already in place in the various priority sectors. The ICT Sector encountered various challenges during the year 2012. They are highlighted below, and will be addressed through specific interventions during the year 2013.

  1. The ICT sector is facing a challenge of limited skillsets required for its sustainable growth. To date, in the framework of the National Information and Communication Infrastructure (NICI) 2010 – 2015, some specific skills development projects have been designed to increase the number of specialized IT-related industry, IT project management and other set of skills required for the sector growth. However, these initiatives are still in early stages and have not yielded limited tangible results. Skills development remains at the heart of a sustainable knowledge-based economy. This challenge will continue to be addressed by the Ministry of Youth and ICT and all its partners during the next years.
  2. Though the country has already invested in a robust and resilient communication infrastructure with the construction of the National Backbone, Kigali Metropolitan Network amongst others, the absence of a Last Mile Network is preventing a steady growth of the Internet penetration countrywide. While mobile broadband subscriptions is on the rise with the increasing coverage of the 3G network currently being deployed by licensed Telecom operations, significant investments are still required to deploy a much wider National Last mile broadband network. Securing an acceptable broadband experience for national citizens and foreigners living in Rwanda will remain the focus during the year 2013. This network will be implemented through strong partnerships with the private sector, which will remain on the forefront of this intervention.
  3. ICT Penetration, ICT awareness and Literacy rate at community level remains at very low level. Generally, statistics show that citizens living in rural areas have a limited ownership of ICT devices, be it for Computers, Smartphones and TVs. This partially affects broadband uptake in the country. In addition, citizens (especially rural citizens) have a very limited awareness of how ICT can improve their productivity and socio-economic welfare. To tackle this challenge, the Ministry of Youth and ICT (MYICT), together with the Ministry of Local Government (MINALOC) and the Ministry of Education (MINEDUC), and in partnership with the Private Sector Federation (with on the forefront Telecom Operators, Internet Service Providers, Banks and ICT SMEs) have designed a five-year ICT Literacy and Awareness Campaign which will target rural communities. The major activities of this campaign will be rolled out during the year 2013. The Ministry of Youth and ICT, in partnership with Telecom Operators and ICT devices supplies have also designed a programme that will amongst other objectives, increase the ICT devices ownership in the country. The programme, also know as “Viziyo” will be launched and implemented during the year 2013.
  4. While there has been a surge of new range of Business to Citizens (B2C) services made mainly available by the Telecom Operators, Banks and other ICT-enabled services, it has been noted that the rate of deployment of Government to Citizens (G2C) e-government services is generally done at a low pace and where available, systems and services not sufficiently used by the intended users. This translates into inefficient manual processes, delays in service delivery, long queues and bureaucracy, which in turn impose considerable burden to our economy. This challenge requires the development of a comprehensive e- Government Policy and Strategy, which will be developed during the year 2013 but also an increased awareness of the existing online services. The Ministry of Youth and ICT will work hands in hands with several partners to deliver the e- Government and improve the country ranking in the UN e-Government survey report. In addition, the Ministry of Youth and ICT has initiated a new project, known as “Rwanda Online”, which will serve as the main vehicle to deliver e- government services, using Public Private Partnerships.

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