The talks of exporting information communication technologies might sound a bit too ambitious. Why? Because when we think of exporting goods, we think of goods like coffee and tea.
But countries like Singapore and India have proved that the concept is feasible and Rwanda, which has identified ICT as a key driver of growth, is not far away from a similar path.
The country’s strategy of implementing various E-applications and building a seamless infrastructure, connected to global network through the undersea cable, signals the possibilities of exporting ICT’s to foreign markets.
The government initiated a concept of introducing an electronic national identification. But little did we know that this would have potential to be an exportable ICT product.
Merely after a year and half, many African and European countries have expressed interest in borrowing a leaf from Rwanda.
The identification of citizens in a country is a key issue. The National ID is being implemented on a smart card containing a variety of information and data such as: civil information, health information, traffic information and other essential data.
A number of governments across the world have been enormously attracted to this project.
They have already sent in delegations to study the project and devise ways on how they can work with Rwanda to implement a similar project in their countries.
This interest has proved that we can export skills at all levels in this project, and open a way for Rwanda’s ambition to add ICT to her docket of exports.
Belgium is a developed country with a population comparable to ours. It initiated a similar project five years ago but it never came to fruition.
Upon learning of a success story in Rwanda, the Belgians jetted in to see how Rwanda managed to do it in a period of one and half year.
Other countries from the west Sweden and Canada have also visited the country over this project with keenness on how it was being implemented.
Kenya, Uganda, Benin, Mozambique, Botswana, have come through and expressed interest in involving Rwandese in implementation of this project at political, technical and management level.
An introduction of a computerized population registry, a modern service national identity, and a modern driving license has reached an impressive status.
Yet, for this to be executed is an integration of public and private sector applications that will result into a magic smart card to smoothen a couple of operations in servicer delivery.
The pace at which the work is being executed is fascinating and is something admirable; that’s why so many countries are flocking in.
The progress within a year and half is worth writing home about. Data entry of 9 million people, always a universal challenge in such a project, was only done within 45 days.
Biometric data capture of 5 million people eligible to have a national ID, another uphill task, was done within seven months. As we speak, 4.8 million Rwandans have secured their electronic national identity cards.
Rwanda’s success story in the implementation of this project will not only serve the government’s objective creating an effective platform to facilitate egovernment applications for its citizens, but it will also see Rwanda’s human resource base attractive to the countries interested in implementing a similar project.
The author works for RDB-IT and is a regular contributor