Govt, Korea firm ink deal for high-tech joint venture

Rwanda has signed a partnership deal with South Korea’s largest telecom company, Korea Telecom (KT), to establish a joint venture that will build and operate ICT services in the country.
Minister Nsengimana (C) and Kim seal the deal with a handshake as RDB’s Akamanzi looks on. The New Times/T. Kisambira
Minister Nsengimana (C) and Kim seal the deal with a handshake as RDB’s Akamanzi looks on. The New Times/T. Kisambira

Rwanda has signed a partnership deal with South Korea’s largest telecom company, Korea Telecom (KT), to establish a joint venture that will build and operate ICT services in the country.

The Systems Integration and IT Services Joint Venture Company will also set an agenda for the utilisation of the high-speed Fourth Generation (4G) broadband network by Rwandans for socio-economic transformation.

In June, KT entered into an agreement with Rwanda to deploy 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) broadband network across the country to ensure fast, reliable and cheaper Internet services.

The KT side

Clare Akamanzi, the acting chief executive of Rwanda Development Board, and Jean Philbert Nsengimana, the minister for youth and ICT, signed for Rwanda, while Kim Hong-Jin, the KT president, Global and Enterprise Group, signed on behalf of his company.

The agreement says as principal shareholders, KT will bring expertise and inject about $8 million (about Rwf5 billion) into the smooth running of the firm.

The South Korean firm will also churn in additional project-by-project cash investment to that end.

Rwanda’s equity investment will be in the form of assets. 

The company also seeks to create significant computing services to allow Rwanda adopt advanced technology applications that transform lives.

Addressing journalists after signing the deal, Nsengimana said the IT firm will enable Rwandans to fully exploit services offered by 4G broadband technology.

“We are going to transform the way Rwandans do business using IT services the company will avail to the market; for instance, changing our scope into e-governance, e-banking, e-learning and e-health. The company will have a range of solutions to benefit every Rwandan.”  

The deal says the new IT company will also build and operate services in Rwanda streaming into the region, based on advanced ICT infrastructure. 

“Based on the company’s plans and South Korean expertise, Rwanda will be in position to be the regional ICT hub through IT services and skills to her neighbours,” Nsengimana said.

Rwanda’s central role is to implement and operate mechanisms to achieve large-scale transfer of know-how from KT, and to develop a broad base of ICT skills in line with the second Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy.

The joint venture, starting in January, is expected to boost the growth of small and medium-size enterprises, either by subcontracting to the company or creating innovative applications to deploy within the company’s services infrastructure. 

“As we are look forward to facilitating Rwandans and businesses with reliable broadband, we believe the new joint venture will transform Rwanda into the region’s ICT hub, by applying IT solutions to our daily lives,” said Akamanzi.

Kim said the development is a huge opportunity for both the government of Rwanda and KT Corporation. 

“This partnership will contribute in developing the ICT industry, stimulating job creation, and promoting socio-economic development in the country,” he said. “This opportunity will also help KT build a global ICT reference, and expand the Rwandan model to other African countries.”

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ICT IN RWANDA

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) 2012 report ranked Rwanda among the top 10 countries in Africa with active mobile-broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants. 

ITU says 95 per cent broadband penetration will translate into a 10 to 13 per cent boost in Growth Domestic Product growth for Rwanda. 

The broadband service providers in the country include MTN Rwanda, Tigo, Airtel, Broadband Systems Corporation, New Artel, Liquid Telecom and Rwandatel.

 

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