GIS supporting Rwanda’s digital planning, development

Rwanda has taken another stride in digital economic planning and development following the introduction of Geographic Information Systems (GIS), raising her ranks as the fastest growing technology and investment hub in the region.

Rwanda has taken another stride in digital economic planning and development following the introduction of Geographic Information Systems (GIS), raising her ranks as the fastest growing technology and investment hub in the region.

Through GIS, information is collected on specific sectors and put together for easy access. The information is used by government and the private sector to plan effectively.

GIS is a system used in resource management, development planning and scientific research and its introduction is facilitating institutions to easily allocate resources.

“We believe that GIS also stands for development, because there is no development without planning and there is no planning without knowledge, where your assets are– be it schools, health centers markets, roads power lines,” said Kaspar Kundert the Managing Director Esri Rwanda Ltd.

“You have to know where you want to build them or know where they are when it comes to maintaining them.”

Headquartered in California, Esri is the leading developer and an innovator of GIS for more than 40 years and has more than 2,200 business partners serving some 500,000 clients worldwide. It established its Esri Rwanda offices in Kigali last year.

Speaking during the official opening of the Esri Rwanda Ltd office in Kimihurura, Kigali, last week, Kaspar said that the government’s strategy to use the GIS in planning is cost effective.

“Because money is always scarce, it’s important to plan how best to spend it, where to concentrate, where to invest; what’s the technology to answer all these “where” questions, to support your spatial decisions? It’s GIS,” he said.

He added that ESRI Rwanda is currently working with Centre for Geographic Information Systems and Remote Sensing of the National University of Rwanda as well as the Kigali Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) Regional ICT Training & Research Centre.

Others include National Land Center, Energy, Water and Sanitation Authority (EWSA), National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda and Rwanda Environment Monitoring Agency among others.

Grace Iraguha, Senior GIS Expert at Rwanda Development Board said that the government needs to use the GIS since it is a decision making tool.

“GIS software helps in making decisions based on spatial data analysis and why it is different from others is the capability to analyse spatially referenced data”, she said.

Iraguha said that the GIS would failitate tracking viable investment information that investors need besides helping the government to trace how services are evenly distributed.

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