Re: Made-in-Rwanda: Govt to review procurement law (The New Times December 21)
Good and commendable move. Let’s not forget to support the local software development industry as the government moves to support locally built software.
One of the ways to do this through procurement yet at the same time get competitive prices is to issue an open call annually for innovative softwares in Rwanda.
The company should be Rwandan owned or employ a certain percentage of Rwandans in key positions like software development. There can even be other benchmarks of established Rwandan companies (over 3 years old) and a second category of software startups (less than 3 years old).
The government can then pick the best five or so softwares per category (established versus startup) dependent on government budget which go through a competitive selection process, which should include government co-ownership of the source codes, maintenance and support contract as well as number of Rwandans involved in the development.
The competitive process should include a clearly working software (not the usually hyped prototypes), has RDB registered IP (to protect copying from others), has passed cyber-sec tests to ensure there are no security related loopholes… among others.
This is one of the best strategies for Rwanda to become an IT hub, by supporting local software, meeting domestic demand, while reducing imports of software from abroad.
What and where are ‘Rwanda made’ products?
There is a very urgent need to start a University level training, with a specific mandate to research, specify, and prescribe products to manufacturers and marketeers.
So the initial focus shouldn’t be on manufacturing and marketing, rather on deciding what to manufacture in the first place.