Rwanda Telecentre Network (RTN) will create 1,000 tele-centres countrywide, before the end of 2015.
This is in a bid to boost the country’s aspirations of moving from an agricultural-based economy to a knowledge-based one.
RTN is a national network of centres where people can easily access the internet at affordable prices.
The tele-centres strengthen the social, economic, educational, and cultural lives of the communities through technology,.
“The aim is to unlock the potential of rural areas through local ICT access,” said Paul Barera, the founder and Executive Director of RTN.
“Our business model is simple and unique in a sense that more emphasis is put on local content and services rather than infrastructure,” he said.
Berera, who is also the chairperson of the Knowledge Network for African Community Tele-centres (KNACT) added: “The core idea is to enable ICT access point to move from traditional oriented services to a wide range of online services”.
Each Tele-service will be operated by a village based entrepreneur with the help of RTN and will deliver a wide range of public and private services such as e-farming, e-Banking and e-learning.
The aim is to bridge the digital divide and to narrow the “gap” among government, business and social services.
The centres will employ 3000 people. .
“Electricity is the key challenge. RECO &RWASCO started to connect key business areas to the electricity grid. We hope this will reduce the power challenges in the coming two years. Meanwhile we will start with areas where there is electricity,” Barera pointed out.
Currently there are 30 Telecentres in each of the 30 districts in the country. There are also a few Tele-centres that are privately owned.