Rwanda has potential to drive digital evolution-report

A man uses a visa card to withdraw money from an ATM in Kigali. A new report says Rwanda is among a few African countries that have potential to drive digital evolution. / Sam Ngendahimana

As the world continues to become more digital, building an inclusive world in which the digital economy works for everyone and everywhere is crucial according to a new report.

Recent research jointly conducted by the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth and The Fletcher School at Tufts University highlights the strengths and opportunities of six major countries in Africa for harnessing the potential of technology to drive inclusive growth.

The report, African Leapfrog Index (ALI) – which was launched during the World Economic Forum on Africa – uses Rwanda, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa as examples to provide insights on key drivers that could accelerate digital inclusion across the continent.

The report says Rwanda can take advantage of its leadership to drive the digital evolution further.

"Leveraging its strengths in governance, digital evolution, and mobile money, Rwanda has the potential to benefit from investments in infrastructure, greater internet penetration and online freedoms," it says.

The independent research indicates that countries like Rwanda and others can tap their positions to drive jobs in the digital economy, such as online freelance, ridesharing, and in e-commerce.

According to MasterCard, the ultimate aim of the report is to help countries across Africa optimize their burgeoning digital evolutions, in order to accelerate economic development.

Professor Bhaskar Chakravorti, Dean of Global Business at The Fletcher School at Tufts University said the intention was to help stakeholders in Africa to recognize where the potential for technology-led leapfrogging is high. 

"This means acknowledging the strengths of each country and which policy areas are prime candidates for intervention to enable stakeholders to prioritize resources appropriately," he noted.

The countries were selected based on their size, economic growth, the median age of residents, quality of governance, and digital momentum.

The six countries were examined against three primary variables for harnessing digital technologies to facilitate development and inclusive growth: Ease of Creating Digital Jobs, Resilience of Governance and Infrastructure and Foundational Digital Potential.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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