President Paul Kagame has commended the increased usage of Information Communication Technology (ICT) among Rwandans and its substantial contribution to the country’s economy.
Kagame said that ICT has become a necessity among Rwandans with increased mobile phone and internet penetration exponentially impacting development.
He was speaking at the 12th National Dialogue.
For example, Kagame said, mobile usage has increased by 125% since in four years. There are more than five million mobile money accounts compared to one million in 2011.
“This has been a big jump in a short period,” Kagame noted, urging for more sensitisation to bring on board those still keeping money under their mattresses.
With the recent launched of a $100m 4G LTE (4th Generation Long-Term Evolution) internet – a wireless communications standard, expected to be roll out across the country, internet usage will increase to 95% by 2017 from current 20%.
Currently, ICT accounts for 3% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). It’s projected to increase to 4% next year.
Despite its small contribution to the GDP, ICT remains the largest enabler of service industry, which contributed 47% to the GDP.
Prime Minister Anastase Murekezi told the dialogue that ICT has increased tax collection as most declarations are made online including through use of mobile phones.
“It’s now cheaper and quicker for small businesses to pay taxes online and also using their mobile phones,”Murekezi said.
Rwandan students are being groomed at a tender age to gain ICT skills.
The government has distributed 204,000 laptops to 407 schools countrywide- ranking 3rd largest deployment globally after Peru and Uruguay-under the ‘One Laptop per Child (OLPC) project.
The country seeks to turn into a knowledge-based economy and has already laid over 3,000km of Fibre optic network worth $130m since 2009 that connects border to border with all its neighbours.
By: Patrick Bigabo