KIGALI - The use of ICT and the increase of science and technology in all sectors of life is a key to achieve the country’s development, the Minister in the President’s Office in Charge of Science and Technology has said.
Speaking to African Parliamentarians gathered in Kigali since Wednesday for a two-day ICT meeting, Romain Murenzi explained that Rwanda is doing its best to be transformed into an ICT hub, a fact that will mark a significant financial turnover.
“The importance of ICT for economic development is undisputable,” Murenzi said, adding that Rwanda is putting more efforts in developing a world class infrastructure and producing a class of skilled workforce.
“ICT is one of the key pillars to achieve the country’s Vision 2020,” the minister added.
Murenzi detailed the progress Rwanda has undertaken in a move to make ICT a core tool in various activities of life, citing the National Broadband Backbone and Local Access Network as well as the Kalisimbi project as some of the examples of the country’s commitment to have ICT in every sector of life.
He explained that efforts were being made in developing Storage Processing Services. His presentation also highlighted the creation of a National Data Centre, the use of the electronic National ID card, the creation of the Climate Change Observatory and Weather Centre and the use of the Rwanda Payment Card.
In the same move, the Deputy Executive Director of Rwanda Information Technology Authority (RITA), Patrick Nyirishema, pointed out that major initiatives are being undertaken to facilitate equitable access to connectivity.
Nyirishema said the connectivity is also reaching out in rural areas through Tele-centres and Public Information Kiosks (PIK). He also mentioned the fast growth of the telecoms sector, where the scale of mobile phone owners jumped from 3% in 2006 to 12% in 2009.
“ICT is no longer a privilege but a right for Rwandan citizens,” he told legislators from over 35 African Parliaments.
Nyirishema, however, made it clear that there are a number of challenges facing the ICT trend. According to him, these include the high illiteracy rates, high cost compared to limited sources and the insufficient human capacity among others.