Parliament has passed development and funding agreements that will drive the country towards an ICT hub in Africa, improve human capital development and food security in areas facing long dry spells.
The four funding agreements and loans signed last year December 2021 were given a go- ahead for implementation this February 21, 2022, following detailed explanation from the ministry of Finance and debate on their significance raised by the Chamber of Deputies.
One of the agreements includes €86.5M from the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank that will be implemented by Rwanda Information Society Authority (RISA) and Development Bank of Rwanda (BRD) aimed at speeding up the use of ICTs as indicated in Rwanda’s National Strategy for Transformation (NST1).
Finance Minister, Uzziel Ndagijimana who presented the loan agreement said that it will be repaid in 28 years but will enable more Rwandans to have access to technologies especially in service offered at districts, increase innovation in information and technology and conducting civil registration electronically, online government services and cyber security.
“The aim is to promote use of technology in development, increase service delivery and use of big data. This will also enable the innovation agenda and increase job creation in technology but also attract investments,” Ndagijimana said.
MP Damien Nyabyenda asked how this will solve the issue of high prices limiting access to tech equipment among many citizens while MP Francis Karemera asked how they will increase access to internet yet fiber optic has been laid across the country.
Minister Ndagijimana explained that the funding will enable in subsidized access to tech equipment but also extend the existing internet to other administration levels.
“The fiber didn’t reach all areas but this time it will be expanded to reach sectors, more government offices, and other organization including religious organs,” Ndagijimana said.
Lawmakers also approved a relatively similar funding of $20Million from the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) for the implementation of the first and second phase of the Kigali Innovation City (KIC).
This will be paid in 20 years with 4.5% interest rate.
Ndagijimana said that this will enhance Rwanda’s plan to become an ICT hub and tech driven economy and thus, help in creating infrastructure needed to create environment for investments.
The fund will put up essential infrastructure at the 61.9Hectares designated KIC to enable Investment.
Addressing Kayonza Droughts
The Parliament also gave a greenlight to a 15,300,000 DTS loan signed between Rwanda and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in Kigali and in Roma, Italy in 2021.
The funding will be used to enhance an existing climate resilience agro program, through implementing irrigation projects and conservation of wetlands in Kayonza district- eastern province which will be implemented in two phases.
This will help to alleviate poverty and drought caused by dry spells in the district by increasing resistance in controlling water from hills, management of agriculture through irrigation.
Furthermore, the fund will increase production of rice, Irish potatoes maize and vegetables.
This will be benefiting over 40,000 poor families in 9 out of the 12 sectors in Kayonza district.
So far the government has in the first phase managed to prepare 1,300 ha of wetlands have been prepared for planting.
The minister explained that so far this represents 60% coverage in the first phase.
With current derailed fight on stunting figures, lawmakers also passed a 61.900.000 DTS loan from the World Bank’s International Development Association and 63.500.000 GBP human capital development including aspects like employment, nutrition for children and adults.
The plan has a 0.75% interest rate for 31 years with a 7-year grace period.