Moving Rwanda’s economy from an agricultural based one to knowledge based one is part of the major plans that have to be achieved by the year 2020.
This called for intense input especially from the ICT sector which has gained much support and government backing to make this goal a reality.
According to Nkubito Bakuramutsa, Deputy CEO of Rwanda Development Board (RDB) in charge of Information Technology, even countries like Singapore had to go through the industrial stage before they could achieve their current status.
For Rwanda, he said that the country will be a regional leader in IT usage by the end of next year and a technology hub come 2020.
“Rwanda is leading regionally in terms of the technology policies that are in place,” Bakuramutsa said, “...and there is no doubt that the country has the potential of becoming the regional hub for Information Technology.”
According to Bakuramutsa, key priorities for the IT think tank, is to facilitate IT based solutions to increase efficiency within both the government and private sectors.
As a result, for Rwanda, this ambition is currently standing as a critical point towards a high tech economy in just 11 years.
Bakuramutsa views it as an achievable dream; however he said that, “it would take steps one by one as all the policies in place will be implemented to anchor the final achievement of the NICI PLAN.
The NICI PLAN, is the National Information and Telecommunication Infrastructure that was established to ensure that ICT policies reach every corner of the country.
Speaking of steps, confirmation reports have been made that Kigali City will go wireless by the end of October.
“This means that from any point of the city one will be able to access high speed wireless internet using an access card at a reasonable price.
Reasonable since, it will be cheaper than the current internet service providers,” said Bakuramutsa.
The availability of the Rwf4.5 billion WiBro technology, internet users will have access uninterrupted as they surf from any part of the city. Meaning one will be able to move in a vehicle while surfing or just at any part of their house.
As a result the term “mobile office” will be applicable for people whose work duties will no longer be confined to an office block. It will also mean more home offices and increase in the internet user base.
Reports further indicate that the wireless connection will be available within a 77km geographical coverage.
Some of the city estates to benefit from this project include Nyakabanda, Gitega, Kimihurura, Nyarutarama, Kibagabaga, Kimironko, Kicukiro, Giporoso, Kanombe, Biryogo, Gikondo, Kacyiru, Mburabuturo, Kinamba, Nyarugenge and Gisozi.
“The government will facilitate the laying down of the infrastructure and hopes that the project can be transferred to the private sector,” said Bakuramutsa.
Another entry onto the ICT puzzle is, the Rwf5 million National Data Centre (NDC). With its construction taking off in a week’s time, the centre will synchronize public information and allows authorized access to different beneficiaries.
The national ID project system will be one of the major beneficiaries of this one stop shop for data services.
This was disclosed in a briefing held mid-week at Telecom House.
“The data centre will serve as a central data storage facility but also provide access to applications used by government institutions such as unified communications and travel approval,” said Didier Nkurikiyimfura, the NDC.
The completion of the data centre of international standards is a fundamental achievement in the ICT sector and its move towards creating Rwanda as an ICT hub for the region at large; given that it will be the first of its kind.
“Since this is the central data store we will consider all possible security breach risks and plan for them. Only authorised users will be able to use the NCD after several checks,” remarked Nkurikiyinfura.
Other than government institutions, private sector institutions in need of data storage facilities will be able to use the centre.
Still to come by year end is the 57 km long Kigali Metropolitan Network Fiber Optic Cable.
This will form the foundation of the final National Backbone cable that will link the country to the globe through a connection to an existing submarine cable off the coast of Mombasa Kenya.
The fibre optic cable will facilitate interconnectivity of all government offices to allow communication and sharing of data between institutions. Major beneficiaries of this project include schools, universities, public health centres, police and other institutions.
The projected national fibre connection dubbed “National Backbone” will in essence link 36 main points within 30 districts in Rwanda, estimated to be within a range of 2,300kilometres.
This submarine will mean more data transfer at a very high speed. Additionally it will increase broadband availability to Rwandan institutions, including schools, health care centres and local government administrative centres.
Enforcing these ICT implemented policies and establishing the projected infrastructure only shows that the vision of making Rwanda a technology hub is a reality in action.
Slowly the dream of becoming a knowledge based economy is taking shape.
The projected vision of having more users who can access internet has surfaced and as a result, by the year 2020, the once imaginary dreams of development through ICT will be dreams come true.