A hitherto overlooked stain has showed its colour on the government’s ambitious plan to make Kigali the regional information and communication technology hub.
A recent study by the Internet Society, a global organisation that promotes the use of Internet, established that there is heavy economic drainage stemming from overseas hosting of Rwandan content
With a significant number of Rwandan web sites hosted overseas, local Internet service providers incur high costs whose part of the burden end-users have to bear. Internet service providers incur as much as $10,000 (about Rwf8 million) per month to ensure the running of large web sites hosted in European and American cities.
But the cost of hosting abroad could be as low as $149 annually compared to about $260 for local web-hosting.
Yet still, data bases stored and run from offshore have slower bandwidth compared to locally hosted sites.
The survey findings offer quite some interesting food for thought for the Government, more so at a time when the Ministry of Youth and ICT is working round the clock to scale up ICT programmes.
On the look of it, the study findings suggest that even if Kigali had comparatively superior ICT-related drivers such as low cost of access to the Internet, stronger broadband and other technological development, the city would still lag a few steps behind another that invests in stronger web-hosting base.
Ideally, Kigali developing web-hosting would also mean many more regional web sites would seek to work with Kigali than continue to incur higher costs in hosting their web sites in Europe or the Americas.
However, stakeholders cannot afford to put the cart before the horse. The mindset of the local firms has to be looked into first. The Ministry of Youth and ICT has an in-coming file tray that seeks to devise a campaign to scale up local web-hosting services by local websites.