Minister Nsengimana highlights Rwandan ICT progress

In the past few years, Rwanda has been engaged in a rapid buildup of technological infrastructures and development of high speed internet connectivity, Rwanda’s Minister of Youth and ICT, Jean Philbert Nsengimana, has told a US TV show.

“Our story of being connected is a 20 year old story. Rwanda got its first internet connection in late 90s, which was based on VSAT (Global High Speed Internet Services) but it has been four years since we connected to submarine fiber optic cables.” The Minister was using Skype technology to speak on in America during Tech News Today. 

He said Rwanda had registered significant progress in the deployment of world-class ICT infrastructure that is now connecting the population to global networks. “In 2011, the National fiber optic network was built, enabling increased affordability and access to the internet that currently touches all the four corners of the country”.

During the Skype communication, inquired how the country had managed to increase the penetration of phone services in a very short period of time. It was noted that in 2006, the country had 2% penetration, which has grown to about 65%.

“There was a series of measures that led to this incredible growth. For instance, liberalising this particular sector, building Rwanda as a preeminent place to do business, and determination to attract foreign direct investment in the telecommunication sector,” Minister Nsengimana observed.

He added that raising the income of the public had contributed to their being able to afford the telecommunication services.

Another technological innovation the government is using is Google+ Hangouts, the Minister said. He said Google+ hangouts were being used as a platform that focuses on promoting entrepreneurship and facilitating young people to make livelihoods for themselves.

“We use this technology to categorically bring young people in contact with support services, resources and mentors, to be able to translate their innovative spirit into solutions and enterprises.”

YouthConnekt Hangout started in October 2013 through a series of Google+ Hangout sessions, has been successful in attracting different partners and giving opportunities to young innovative entrepreneurs. In December 2013 in South Africa, YouthConnekt Hangout won the first prize at the UNDP Regional Bureau for Africa's Innovation Fair.

Ahead of the talk, the Minister remarked that Rwanda had built up the LTE and fiber optic networks, allowing the country to go wireless, which is dynamic for institutions, offices and business infrastructure. He noted Rwanda had entered into partnership with 4GLTE technology service providers, aiming to extend high speed access to mostof the population  by 2017. The Smart Rwanda strategy has been introduced to transform Rwanda into a knowledge based economy and help the country to achieve EDPS II and Vision 2020.

Watch the whole interview here:


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