Any African country interested in making progress should follow the Rwandan model and invest in a wall-to-wall ICT infrastructure to facilitate e-governance, or risk being left behind.
The observation was made by South African Minister in the Presidency for the National Planning Commission for Policy and Evaluation, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
Dlamini-Zuma is, together with her delegation, in the country on a benchmarking visit where they are expected to interact with different institutions.
During her visit to the Rwanda Governance Board (RGB) on Wednesday, Zuma said that she had been lucky to witness the country transform during the last 24 years, adding that ICT was one of the enablers of fast growth on the continent.
“The fact that Rwanda has decided to put the ICT infrastructure wall-to-wall in the country is something that I admire about this country and to me that is the future. Any country that doesn’t, will find itself lagging behind and I think that’s why the whole African continent asked President Kagame to be the champion in that sector,” she said.
Dlamini-Zuma, who is the immediate former Chairperson of the African Union Commission, said that she and her team were interested in learning how the country had turned a page after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
“Nobody has the monopoly of ideas. Everyone has ideas. We believe that the first person to learn from is your neighbour; another African country which is doing well. We are here to exchange ideas, to see where things are working better and where we can adapt the ideas to our own situation,” she said.
She said that, today, South Africa can for instance gain from streamlining its planning mechanisms since that continues to be an issue.
“I think we need to strengthen the way we plan. Planning as a government, and as provinces and regions, is important. We plan but it is not sufficiently integrated and, in the end, implementation suffers. That is one big loophole that we want to fill,” she said.
She said that there was need to accelerate implementation focusing on moving quickly from good ideas to implementation.
RGB’s Deputy Chief Executive Officer Dr Usta Kayitesi told the delegation that Rwanda was keen on promoting home grown solutions, which she said were adopted to deal with a number of challenges the country was facing post-Genocide.
“Home-grown solutions are a key pillar of good governance in Rwanda. They are founded on some of our traditions but also adapted to the current national development programmes,” she said.
Among them, she pointed out Gacaca courts which she said had tried almost two million cases in ten years while at the same time promoting reconciliation and rehabilitation.
Zuma’s tour has seen her visit the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda, the Ministry of Cabinet Affairs and others.