Rwanda's secondary schools to be connected by 2017
HANA / afrol News, 3 February
- Rwandan President Paul Kagame at the African ICT conference in Accra said that all of the country's secondary schools were to be connected to the internet by 2017. Rwanda has an aggressive Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) policy, aiming at making the poor country a technology centre within the next decades.
President Kagame of Rwanda is the only African state leader to attend to the Africa Regional Conference of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), except the Ghanaian host, President John Agyekum Kufuor. In an interview with David Kezio-Musoke of Highway Africa News Agency (HANA), President Kagame reveals Rwanda's ICT strategies.
Asked on how Rwanda had achieved to become "a role model of a country with an effective ICT policy at national level," President Kagame said that his government had made that choice "in terms of overall objectives." The UN's Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) had helped Rwanda with necessary resources, including the human resource. "It is on that basis that everyone has started using us a model," the Rwandan President said.
- Today we have put in place broadband infrastructure, Mr Kagame explained. "It is possible to have wireless internet access. We have the fibre optic infrastructure in the city and most of the towns and the provinces. We are working to expand it to other areas of the countries."
Rwanda places great importance on the teaching of ICTs. "We are expanding internet connectivity to schools," President Kagame told HANA. "All secondary schools should be connected within the next 12 years," he announced.
- We have a digital backbone provided by different providers like Rwanda Telecom Rwandatel and RwandaCell, Mr Kagame went on. "Rwandatel is under privatisation," he added.
Connectivity in Rwanda is to improve rapidly, the President announced. Currently, Rwanda just like other East and Central African countries relies on satellite as a sole medium for the international connectivity. The Kigali government has now subscribed to the upcoming East African Submarine Cable System, commonly known as the EASSy project, through the government owned Rwanda Telecom, RwandaTel.
- ICTs play a very important role in socio-economic development of society, President Kagame emphasised. However, "if ICT is to be made important it has to be accessed by a majority of our people. It should not remain in the hands of only the privileged," he added.
President Kagame also yesterday addressed the opening ceremony of the Accra conference, saying that African countries would need to work towards achieving greater regional cooperation to receive greater access to ICTs. He added that Africa needs solidarity and must present a unified stance to achieve socio-economic development through the use of ICTs.
Mr Kagame described ICTs as a tool for embracing a vision and for ushering in other opportunities, adding that in Rwanda, government recognises the ICT potential to deal with many problems. "In my view, as far as Africa is concerned, only regional integration will help build a global information society," said President Kagame.
He said each country needs to build a strong relationship between the business and public sectors. This was especially true in landlocked countries such as Rwanda. "If we continue to work together and take necessary action, involve civil society, private sector, we shall be able to create infrastructure that reaches every one, this is the only way we can make a tangible difference in the lives of our people," he said.
President Kagame further emphasised the need to increase investments in research and development in order to create a conductive environment to be able to compete in the global market. "The necessary conditions for the establishment of [ICTs] are not yet in place and we do not have the luxury to wait, since other continents are making quick advancements."
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