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Yes, There is Technology in Rwanda

By Wayan Vota on June 24, 2009

Rolling out the future of Rwanda

I always love conversations with Silicon Valley types who never leave the Bay Area Bubble. When I say that Inveneo is working to bring technology to Africa, I often get a funny look with a quizzical “Technology, in Africa? ” as the usual response. I’ve educated a few on the opportunities that exist in lighting up the “Dark Continent”, but its a slow process.

So I would like to thank Sarah Lacy for doing the same to a larger audience Silicon Valley denizens than I ever could, through her How to Cross the Digital Divide, Rwanda-Style post on TechCrunch. While she does get a touch hyperbole in her fawning over Rwanda’s fiber-optic investments, I give her credit for showing the Valley there is higher-end technology plays that recycled computer donations.

She details five major investments in technology that should shock VC’s into taking a look at African ICT:

  1. Investment in mobility – mobile phone ownership & usage is ubiquitous
  2. Investment in connectivity – each district of the country will be connected by fiber
  3. Investment in access – all thirty districts of the country have low-cost Internet centers
  4. Investment in education – Rwanda bought 100,00 XO laptops and hosts OLPC’s Education Center
  5. Investment in skills – Rwanda sends 300 students at a time to India Institute of Technology for training

Each of these investments alone would be enough to jolt a country into the 21st Century, but combined, and accelerated by cheaper and better bandwidth, will give Rwanda a great leap forward.

Its a process of national renewal and branding that President Paul Kagame of Rwanda is pushing in multiple phases across the country, as Fast Company captured in Rwanda Rising: A New Model of Economic Development.

Let’s just hope that Sand Hill Road takes notice.

Filed Under: Connectivity
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Written by
Wayan Vota co-founded ICTworks and is the Digital Health Director at IntraHealth International. He also co-founded Technology Salon, MERL Tech, ICTforAg, ICT4Djobs, ICT4Drinks, JadedAid, Kurante, OLPC News and a few other things. Opinions expressed here are his own and do not reflect the position of IntraHealth International or other ICTWorks sponsors.
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One Comment to “Yes, There is Technology in Rwanda”

  1. Steve says:

    I’m glad that Rwanda is in the news for their investment in technology, but I am growing tired of the constant immediate references to the genocide. Its been a decade now, can we mention it in passing, instead of making it a focus of every story?