Everyone should be brought aboard to enjoy the digital journey

While appearing before Parliament this week, the Minister for ICT and Innovation had some good news to share; in the next two months or so, a smartphone factory will open its doors in Kigali.

Not only will they be affordable, but financing will also be provided to allow someone to pay in instalments for a period not exceeding 24 months. The Government has also promised to approach internet service providers to see how prices could be more pocket-friendly for the common man.

With services now being delivered on-the-go, in most cases on mobile devices, it was a wise call to bring access to the grassroots.

Education is also going digital even though the “Smart Classroom” is yet to be fully rolled out, but whatever the case, it is encouraging to see that a backbone is already in place on which the whole program will base on.

When we talk about the whole country going “smart” and digital, some have the temerity to suggest that we are over-reaching ourselves and very ambitious. But there is a very simple retort to that kind of defeatist philosophy; we have to punch above our weight as we have a lot of catching up to do.

But as we march towards the digital revolution, we should make sure that no one is left behind, especially the physically challenged. A person with vision impairment should be able to use the smartphone, an issue that many phone manufacturers are still grappling with.

Anyway, the encouraging part is that the incoming phone manufacturer will not need re-invent the wheel, the path is well-beaten and there is a lot of raw talent lying around.