The Government is seeking to build closer ties with major high tech companies as part of efforts to help local young software developers to deal with fierce IT competition on the market.
While Indians and Chinese have been commanding a large market in East and Central Africa including in Rwanda, young local software engineers have been struggling to share the few remaining local deals with some advocating for ‘‘IT Made-in-Rwanda’’ strategies.
Developers have been urging the government to pull all the strings to connect them to major ICT engineers globally.
Government says a number of strategies are in place to bridge knowledge gap after a couple of Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) with those companies were signed.
Jean Philbert Nsengimana, the minister for youth and ICT, told The New Times last week that a lot has been done since the government signed MoUs with Microsoft, Oracle, IBM and Intel for the firms to establish extensional operations in the country which can help bridge the skills gap.
“Kigali Innovation City will accelerate this trend by linking skills development, innovation and entrepreneurship investment on one platform which will attract large IT multinationals,” he said.
According to Kunle Awosika, Kenyan Microsoft country manager, growing young developers’ talent in IT, especially in Africa, is gaining momentum.
“We have been working with a number of local firms through providing training support and awarding IT projects that have proved to be transformational,” he said alluding to two small companies ‘Techno Brain’ and ‘I-choose life’ that were recently awarded by Microsoft for their projects.
‘Techno Brain’ Kenyan office was rewarded for developing an e-cabinet solution designed to help cabinet members draft and publish papers and proposals, and record and manage meeting minutes; while ‘IchooseLife’ was awarded for its ‘BioSim’, an application that tracks student enrolment, pupil and teacher attendance, performance and school fees.
Reacting on the e-Class software Eric Ndushabandi, vice dean in the school of political science, University of Rwanda’s College of Arts and Social Sciences, said the product would be helpful in tracking students attendance.
He said attendance list is now complicated to fill as it is done with both lecturer and class representative.
“If the software was introduced it would resolve the bureaucracy in that process, because what the lecturers have done the faculty leaders do not get records about it,” he said.
Patrick Gacirane a local software developer who managed to create a Point Of Sale product, ‘Shopkeeper’, told The New Times that the stiff competition on the ground calls for more knowledge in the sector.
Although he thinks working with either Google and or Microsoft would boost the knowledge of local developers, he argued there was a strong need to enhance Rwanda’s IT potential to serve the existing market, an approach he called “IT Made- in-Rwanda.”