African e-government forum opens in Kigali

Rwanda is host to a meeting today aimed at the exchange of ideas among partners in the development of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) on e-government across the continent.
Prof Murenzi and Samuel Fletcher at the press conference yesterday. (Photo/ E. Kwibuka).
Prof Murenzi and Samuel Fletcher at the press conference yesterday. (Photo/ E. Kwibuka).

Rwanda is host to a meeting today aimed at the exchange of ideas among partners in the development of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) on e-government across the continent.

The three-day event dubbed ‘3rd annual African e-government Forum 2009’ was jointly organised by the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO) and the Ministry in Charge of Science and Technology in the President’s Office.

It will attract officials in charge of governments’ IT projects on the continent, heads of e-government projects, civil society leaders and representatives from IT organisations.

“CTO believes that Africa can not mess up on the IT revolution…irrespective of where you are, every one needs to be connected,” said Samuel Fletcher, Manager of CTO’s International Events and Corporate Communications.

Fletcher and Prof. Romain Murenzi, Minister in the President’s Office in Charge of ICT yesterday held a press conference at the latter’s office in Urugwiro Village to highlight the forum.

E-Government, the use by government agencies of information technologies such as Wide Area Networks, the internet, and mobile computing in the day-to-day running of the country, continues to be seen as paramount.

“ICT will facilitate the move from informal to formal economy,” said Prof. Murenzi as he described the many roles of technology.

“It will dramatically change the way we do business,” he explained.

In the development of e-governance, governments worldwide have embarked on ensuring the usage ICTs to transform relations with citizens, businesses, and other actors of the society.

At the Kigali forum, mobile operators in the country, infrastructure providers, foundations, development and donor agencies are also expected to exchange ideas with government officials.

Costs for internet communications remain among major challenges in the e-governance process and governments need to encourage more competition, experts assert.

“Unless there is competition, prices will never come down,” says Christopher Wood, Chief Executive Officer of WIOCC, an African company set up as a vehicle for investment in the Eastern Africa Submarine Cable System (EASSy).

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