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Rwanda: ICT Investors Urged to Go Rural
Source: The New Times
Source Date: Monday, December 02, 2013
Focus: Information Access, Government Portal, Citizens’ Service Delivery, E-Government
Country: Rwanda
Created: Dec 02, 2013

The private sector must invest more in Information Communication Technology (ICT) to help spread it to the grassroots, the Minister of Youth and ICT, Philbert Nsengimana has said. Nsengimana was speaking during a two-day ICT awareness campaign in Musanze District last week. The campaign aimed at promoting and building citizens 'capacity and knowledge in ICT.

"The private sector should invest in ICT and spread it countrywide to address the demands of all people willing to learn and use ICT," he said. The ICT literacy campaign, officially launched in January, in Rulindo District in the Northern Province, is targetting over 200,000 people during the first phase of the five-year awareness campaign.

The Minister said once ICT is spread countrywide, it would help Rwandans improve their economic activities such as farming and business. He urged the youth to embrace ICT, adding that it is a catalyst for development. Nsengimana also urged local leaders to supervise the use of already existing ICT facilities and make sure they are fully exploited and shared by the residents.

There are over 120 tele-centres countrywide. There are also several non-governmental organisations committed to helping residents acquire ICT knowledge. The minister said there are plans to put up small ICT infrastructure at village level to enable residents get computer skills.

The governor of Northern Province, Aime Bosenibamwe, admitted that ICT facilities are still a problem but expressed optimism that the province will work hard together with Private investors to invest in ICT. He urged Rwandans to embrace ICT but cautioned them against misusing ICT facilities.

Bosenibamwe hailed Digital opportunity Technology (Dot), Rwanda for offering an opportunity for all people to acquire basic computer skills. " Computers are not very different from phones. We should all get used to them to live meaningful lives," he said.

Some residents expressed willingness to use ICT but others said they had never touched computers due the scarcity of facilities in their respective villages. "I learnt parts of computers in secondary school, but I have never touched it. There is only one tele-centre in this area which cannot give basic knowledge on ICT to all of us," said Divine Uwase a S6 drop out. Companies dealing in ICT expressed willingness to spread ICT to rural areas where electricity is available.

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