The World Bank has announced $24 million (Frw13, 158 billion ) for the Regional Communication Infrastructure Programme Rwanda Project (RCIPRW).
The fund is part of $424 million (Frw232.458b) for the Southern and Eastern Africa region, designed to improve communications infrastructure and increase the deployment of e-government.
“The World Bank is pleased to support the government of Rwanda as it moves ahead on the development goals articulated in Vision 2020,” said Mark Williams, World Bank task manager for the RCIP Rwanda Project.
A statement from World Bank says, the project will extend access to broadband and reduce the prices paid by customers. For Rwanda, the project will help in its transformation into a knowledge based economy.
Rwanda plans to move from agricultural based economy to knowledge based.
With broadband, it’s expected that the volume of international bandwidth connection to Rwanda will increase more than three times and the price will fall by over 50 per cent.
The programme also complements the submarine fiber optic cable projects being developed along the East coast of Africa which will link the region into the global communications network.
“The availability of affordable broadband countrywide will play a critical role in realizing our transition to a service oriented, knowledge based economy,” said David Kanamugire, Director General of ICT in the President’s office.
It will also improve service delivery, particularly in rural areas, he added.
Kanamugire said, the RCIP Rwanda project will support the efforts to improve service delivery in two ways, it will increase the availability of broadband to over 700 Rwandan institutions including schools, health centers and local government administrative centers and increase the availability of international bandwidth to the country by ensuring that Rwanda is connected to the East coast submarine fiber-optic cables.
RCIP Rwanda will also promote investment and competition among local licensed operators and Internet Service Providers (ISPs), who will be selected to implement project activities through a competitive bidding process.
The financing is a grant from a concessional lending arm of the World Bank, International Development Association (IDA).