The Government has launched a credit scheme of a cellphone-per-household aimed at bridging the communication gap in rural areas.
The initiative kicked off recently in Musanze District, Northern Province.
The Minister in the Office of President in charge of Science, Technology, and Research, and Information Communication Technology, Prof. Romain Murenzi, presided over the event that attracted a number of executives from stakeholders in the project.
Murenzi said that the move will ensure a smooth run towards Vision 2020.
“This initiative of bridging the communication gap in rural Rwanda is one of key projects that are gradually coming to fruition,” he said.
The minister expressed gratitude towards the Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) model. He said that the involvement of a telecommunication company- MTN and Rwanda Development Bank (BRD) played a big role in the implementation of the initiative.
Through the efforts of the initiative, the cost of a mobile phone has been slashed from Frw28, 000 to Frw13, 000.
The relaxed credit scheme will enable a person to own a phone and pay only Frw1, 000 per month in a period of 13 months. Over 53,000 handsets have so far been dispatched to 15 out of 30 districts. Celestin Karabayinga, the mayor of Musanze District, described the initiative as milestone in rural development.
He appealed to the suppliers to increase the number of phones to meet the increased demand as a result of fruitful agricultural harvests in the Northern Province.
“Stakeholders in this project should bear in mind that the people of Musanze know the importance of ICT and demand more access to ICT infrastructure,” he said.
“People here have harvested and sold their agricultural products, thus can to afford buy phones. We’ll therefore need more handsets,” he added.
The Executive Director of Rwanda Information Technology Authority (Rita) Nkubito Manzi Bakuramutsa commended the initiative, saying the Government of Rwanda was keen on bringing ICT to rural areas.
He said: “This affordable mobile phone per household is in line with our rural communication access strategies. We realise the importance of rolling out ICTs to rural areas because this is where we have got the biggest percentage of the population.”