There is no doubt in anyone’s mind about the seriousness of making this country an Information and Communication Technology (ICT) hub in the region.
The nation’s leaders have not only spoken about it, but also made policies that favour the development of this sector; and they are many. For the example there is the One-laptop-per-child programme; there is the village phone; e-health (tele-medicine), and many others.
More recently our beautiful city is being dug up so that fibre optic cables are laid, which will make our connections not only swifter but also ostensibly cheaper.
And, we are acquiring ICT buses – a brand-new innovation in the region – where a person just waits for the ICT bus at a location and conducts their communication business, and goes back home.
The convenience of this service will be super.
There is something that has to be understood well, though, in our pursuit of improved ICT services.
Most of us understand ICT to mean only the internet; that once one has an e-mail address, then they are ICT-savvy! We are yet to understand, let alone harness, the innumerable conveniences and capacities that ICT offers a person living in a modern world.
Just a few examples of what Rwanda should add to already existing services and get more capital out of improved, faster and cheaper connections through the fibre optic cable being laid now:
How can we use the computer to teach? Why should science subjects continue being difficult for our children – even those who have the internet in their homes – and we fail to use it to teach/ learn Mathematics better?
Let us use computers to unfurl a map of Africa, and show the mountains as they really look, instead of continuing with Geography lessons as they were run before the computer and the internet.
Unwelcome as it is to wrong-doers, connectivity should be able to help government agencies and other organizations to identify people faster and more easily.
Asking for IDs etc at banks, immigration points, etc, should become history. Information about a person complete with their picture should become a matter of a click away – literally. There is no reason why we should not emulate Malaysia on this one-card system.
These, and more, should be the major concern of RITA – to sensitise the public about maximising connectivity usage.