Local entrepreneurs and investors in the ICT sector have partnered to form a wholesale distribution outlet of gadgets and electronics manufactured in the country by Positivo BGH.
Constituting 15 entrepreneurs, Africa Smart Investment Distributions (ASI-D) will be involved in the distribution of devices produced by the Latin American firm with a presence in Rwanda.
The new entity has since been hired by the Government to facilitate the distribution of devices to ensure acceleration of the commercialisation of the devices produced.
ASI-D kicked off their operations on Friday at a launch that hosted prospective resellers, telecommunication firms and government officials at their warehouse based in the special economic zone in Kigali.
Francois Karenzi, the executive chairman of ASI-D, said they were looking at working with the electronic device manufacturer to accelerate the penetration of devices in various market segments beginning with the education sector.
By contracting the firm, the Government aims at mitigating challenges previously experienced by buyers of electronic gadgets such as laptops.
“One of the challenges Africa has always faced is purchasing electronic devices with non-existent or expensive after sale services,” Karenzi said.
Positivo BGH is a Latin American multinational, which manufactures laptops, computers, tablets, and other electronic gadgets, and last year set up shop in Kigali.
The firm took interest to establish their presence in Rwanda due to the model and impact of the One-Laptop-Per-Child programme.
Currently, the One-Laptop-Per-Child project has distributed over 200,000 laptops in over 410 schools across the country.
Production commenced early this year following a deal between the government and the firm.
Part of the deal provides that the Government will purchase about 150,000 units (electronics) every year, most of them going to the education sector.
Positivo BGH’s partnership with the Government is one of the private-public partnerships aimed at fully utilising the benefits presented by ICT.
Juan Ponelli, the Positivo BGH Africa president, noted that with the devices being produced in Africa, they are not only affordable, but also relevant in addressing the continent’s needs.
The Government’s interest in the partnership is to increase access, quality and relevance in the local education sector using technology.
Nkubito Bakuramutsa, the IT advisor at the Minister of Education, said the ministry is partnering with many stakeholders both in education and the IT sectors, including Positivo-BGH, INTEL and Microsoft.
Reacting to the development, Jean Philbert Nsengimana, the Minister for Youth and ICT, said the partnership would improve the ICT ecosystem and was a realisation of the broadband commitment.
“This is an exciting moment for the ICT industry. With 4G LTE rollout on course to provide national coverage, affordable smart devices are needed to make Rwanda’s commitment to broadband for all a reality,” he said.
Nsengimana said this was among the first steps to the realisation of the Rwf300 billion worth of investments set during the recent Transform Africa forum.