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Data Revolution Coming to Rwanda

by Daniel Sabiiti
4:56 pm

Mr. Ivan MURENZI, Deputy Director General (c), and Kenny Osborne, Deputy Head of DFID-Rwanda (l) discussing the partnership . NISR photo

Rwanda has embarked on creating fertile ground for data collection and revolution that will inform policy making and attaining sustainable development agenda 2030.

Through a new data revolution policy approved by cabinet in April, the national institute of statistics (NISR) will inaugurate a data collection center next year which will include facilities that will complement the existing traditional statistics.

“We are trying to harness other alternative data sources for example data from technology and mobile data. There is a lot happening and by tapping into that information you can know how this is used in making deals, purchasing…to enable timely decision,”  Ivan Murenzi, the Deputy Director General of NISR exclusively told KT Press.

Rwanda is now at the level of implementation of the data revolution policy and will work with the United Kingdom (UK) Office of National Statistics in which will be a key partner during the process.

Already a multimillion data collection structure is under construction nearby the statistics bureau.

The building is expected to be completed next year and will accommodate a data science campus and training center that will be run with stakeholders to put in place legal aspects and infrastructure information sharing systems.

In the next three to five years, Murenzi said that Rwanda will be able to see the outputs of the center which will touch on data from all sectors including financial, health, transport and service, and ICT sector.

Africa being a rich ground for unexploited data fields and banks also consider the ‘New Black Gold’, the issue of privacy of information and how the data is used has remained a precautious argument that was also raised during Transform Africa summit in 2015.

Panelists urged the move from using data only in reporting on progress but rather using data also in the implementing. Highlights were made on openness with data being a win-win situation for all stakeholders and the need to have clear data use conditions and follow-up means to avoid abuse to build a profitable extended data ecosystem in Africa.

Rwanda has laid ground for data resources in terms of contributing outlets with 4 Centers of Excellence already in place including;  African Centre of Excellence in Energy for Sustainable Development (ACEESD), African Centre of Excellence in Internet of Things (ACEIoT) both hosted at the College of Science and Technology.

There are also African Centre of Excellence for Teaching and Learning Mathematics and Science (ACEITLMS) at College of Education and African Centre of Excellence for Data Sciences (ACE-DS), located at College of Business and Economics.

Rwanda has since 2009 been planning to set up a National Data Centre (NDC) as underlined in the national information and telecommunication infrastructure (NICI plan).