The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has pledged more support to Rwanda’s Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector as the country moves toward a digital economy.
According to Toda Takao, JICA’s vice president in charge of human security and global health, the aim is to offer Rwanda full-scale technical support to implement Smart Rwanda master plan.
Under the new smart Rwanda master plan, government wants to focus on digitising the economy and positioning ICT as one of the key pillars of the country.
The initiative, dubbed “SMART Rwanda,” is aligned with the government’s national development strategy and ICT Sector Strategic Plan to create an information-rich and knowledge-based economy and society by 2018.
Takao added that Japan will continue supporting this cause through JICA to make Rwanda more competitive on the global scale.
“It is important that we support Rwanda’s innovative eco system to help create a conducive business environment that will help attract more investors into the country,” Takao who is currently in the country for the Transform Africa summit told The New Times, yesterday.
“A knowledge-based economy will require cutting edge innovative products that can be competitive in regional and global markets,” he said adding that JICA’s cooperation framework will continue to focus on priority areas including agriculture, infrastructure, energy and regional integration, among others.
Last year, the Private Sector Federation (PSF), through its ICT Chamber, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Japan’s Kobe Institute of Computing (KIC), a prominent private graduate school of Information Technology, to support Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector.
The Japanese agency last year supported the construction of a digital fabrication laboratory to help boost business innovation and entrepreneurship skills in the country.
The hitech lab fuses design and production through the use of computer-aided design and manufacturing ability with help of three-dimensional modeling software.
The software allows designers to produce material digitally.
According to Rwanda’s ICT Sector Profile – 2015, as of December 2015, 33.5 per cent of Rwandans had access to internet and 77.8 per cent had mobile phones with mobile money subscribers reaching 7,663,199.
More than 500 ICT experts are currently in the country for the Transform Africa summit to discuss strategies on how best economies in Africa can leverage on ICT to become competitive.