A collaboration between the Government of Rwanda and tech giant Google is expected to scale up digital literacy and accelerate digital transformation in the country over the next two years, reaching over 8 million people.
The government, through the Ministry of ICT and Innovation, recently announced the partnership with Google, which is in line with Rwanda’s ambition to drive inclusive economic development leveraging technology.
Rwanda’s vibrant economy is an ideal launch pad for future innovation in Africa, with focus in four key areas: affordable and universal access to connectivity; adoption of digital platforms; Digital Skilling for All; and fostering a pan-African innovation ecosystem.
The Rwanda-Google collaboration is one of several initiatives to advance the above key areas, according to officials.
It will also include support for a progressive policy framework, and contribute to an open digital payment ecosystem through the Mojaloop platform.
The partnership aims to enable Rwanda’s Digital Ambassadors to scale their digital literacy work to reach 8 million Rwandans by 2024, starting with empowering 1,000 Digital Ambassadors
Among other things, it will upskill 500 developers through Google’s developer training and community support programs and also pilot a fintech incubation program for early stage fintech companies.
Initially it will start with 15 companies in collaboration with Kigali Innovation City, and delivered by a Google for Startups partner.
The partnership is also aimed at accelerating e-commerce growth by supporting 3,000 Small and Medium Businesses to go online as well as equipping 1,000 iWorkers.
Taking Rwanda to the World
The collaboration is expected to take Rwanda to the world through Google Street View by enhancing digital maps of key urban centres and also digitise Rwanda’s cultural assets and provide access to heritage through digital storytelling in collaboration with the National Museums of Rwanda.
While announcing the partnership, the Minister of ICT and Innovation, Paula Ingabire said the collaboration will complement existing government initiatives aimed at increasing digital inclusion.
“We are pleased to launch this partnership with Google to complement existing efforts to drive digital inclusion, skilling and support the growth of the innovation ecosystem in Rwanda,”
“Growing the digital economy is critical and will continue to drive Rwanda’s economic transformation in line with the country’s vision to become a knowledge-driven economy,” Minister Ingabire said.
Agnes Gathaiya, the Google Country Director, Eastern Africa, hailed the partnership as a major milestone that will not only boost digital transformation but also empower thousands of youths with digital skills.
“This collaboration with the Government of Rwanda is an important milestone for us coming soon after our CEO’s commitment to the continent to support Africa’s digital transformation,”
“We will help build a Digital Rwanda by up-skilling the youth, digitally accelerating small businesses, supporting start-ups and developers, improved maps and navigation, digitising Rwanda’s cultural heritage as well as supporting a progressive policy framework,” Gathaiya said.
Google will continue to work with the Ministry of ICT and Innovation to increase its efforts to support Rwanda’s digital transformation.