The Minister in the Office of the President in charge of ICT, Dr. Ignace Gatare, has said that the government will support Rwanda Telecentre Network (RTN) towards the setting up of 1,000 community tele-centres countrywide, before the end of 2015.
He made the remarks, yesterday, while officiating at the RTN partners and stakeholders’ forum which aimed at deepening the awareness of the role of tele-centres in the country’s development as well as build partnerships for the deployment of the centres.
RTN is a national network of centres where people can access internet connection at affordable prices. The tele-centres strengthen the social, economic, educational, and cultural lives of the communities through technolog.
“We highly value the 1,000 Tele-centres initiative and express our full support to any partnership in achieving this noble goal,” Gatare said.
He added that in a bid to move from an agriculture-based economy to a knowledge-based one, they need to increase the number of ICT community access points to provide affordable connectivity bandwidth.
“I do believe that synergies between public and private sectors are of paramount importance in order to put in place the needed building blocs of the project,” he noted.
The minister told the delegates that the government has deployed a number of e-Government applications to improve the efficiency of government-to-government, government-to-citizen and government to business processes.
Paul Barera, the founder and Executive Director of RTN, retaliated that telecentres will unlock the potential of rural areas through local ICT access.
He added that the government’s support in the project of 1,000 telecentres is crucial for success and its close cooperation with RTN is desired.
“The goal is to have a tele-centre in every village which will boost the employment in rural areas and reduce urban migration and as well facilitate local content creation, dissemination and sharing in Rwanda,” he stressed.
Dr. Basheerhamad Shadrach, the Executive Director of Telecentre.org foundation based in
Manila, Philippines, and one of the participants, said that 1,000 tele-centres in Rwanda will be successful.
He gave an example of India where it had 12 tele-centres in 1997 and they have since increased to 100,000 to date.
Currently, there are 30 tele-centres countrywide where each district has one tele-centre.
There are also a few tele-centres that are privately owned.
The forum brought together ICT stakeholders from Malawi, Uganda and Burkina Faso, among others.