KIGALI-The World Bank yesterday signed the recently approved $24m (approx. Frw13Bn) infrastructural grant with the Government of Rwanda. The grant will finance the availing of broadband infrastructure to different institutions in the country.
At the signing ceremony, World Bank Resident Representative, Victoria Kwakwa, said that the reason the World Bank chose to finance this project was because of the country’s demonstration of a strong commitment to promoting Information Communication Technology (ICT).
“The government of Rwanda has a strong commitment to ICT which it has set as the driver towards the accomplishment of the Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy,” she said.
The Rwanda project is part of the $424m World Bank’s Regional Communication Infrastructure Programme (RCIP).
Licensed operators and Internet Service Providers chosen through competitive bidding are expected to implement the project’s activities.
Finance and Economic Planning Minister James Musoni lauded the speed at which the finances were approved adding that this will have a significant impact on the project’s implementation.
“We also pledge our commitment to maintain the speed with which you worked throughout this process,” he said.
He added that this project will solve some of the hitches that the government has been going through in its various developmental programmes.
“This project stands to address some of the impediments we have been encountering, an example of which is the implementation of the NICI plan for our development agenda,” said Musoni.
NICI plan is the National Information and Communications Infrastructure, the national ICT policy.
Kwakwa said that the World Bank will be closely monitoring and evaluating the project’s implementation.
According to a World Bank news release, this project will see at least 700 institutions such as schools, health centres and administrative units of local government, availed with broadband connection.
“The project will also increase availability of international bandwidth to the country by ensuring that Rwanda is connected to the East coast submarine fibre-optic cables,” says the release.
One of the projects to tap this bandwidth is the East African Submarine System (EASSy) which according to Nkubito Bakuramutsa, the Rwanda Development Board Deputy CEO in charge of ICT,, has gone beyond concept level and is now at the implementation phase.