Rwanda: 10 Percent Rwandans Read Newspapers - Study

Kigali — Total newspaper readership of newspapers in Rwanda is estimated to be 10% denoting just under a million individuals of the total population, a study by the Rwanda National Institute of Statistic (RNIS) has revealed.

The findings from a second study on the general welfare of Rwandans show that about 900 000 Rwandans can buy and therefore read a newspaper.

As of April 2007, according to the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) Population Division, the population of Rwanda is estimated to be 9 421 100. This is a significant rise from the 2002 census of 8.4 million.

Interestingly, the study reveals that from the 10%, just 2% of these are men compared to 5%. This essentially means more females are reading newspapers in Rwanda. The however has more females with about 54% of total population.

There about 20 publications in the country but only about 10 claim to have nationwide coverage - even then just struggling. Most of the newspapers are written in the local language - Kinyarwanda.

There are about five English newspapers competing vigorously for the small group that use English as second language. They also include a single daily in Rwanda.

However, there are only 2 French newspapers - both with irregularly appearance including a government and private publication.

The findings also indicate that 46% of homes have access to a radio compared to just 2% believed to own television set. Meanwhile 1% has a refrigerator and just 5% in possession of a mobile phone.

Since 2003, the telecommunications sector has been operated by a duopoly: MTN and Rwandatel. MTN has just over 300,000 subscribers, 2% of which are post-paid. It is targeting 1.5 million in five years time.

Rwandatel, (previously Terracom), dominated the landline service with more than 20,000 fixed lines along with its struggling mobile phone service. However, a public wireless system exists - that most phone users depend on.

As regards access to water, the study shows that 18% of Rwandan homes are in easy distance to a surface water source. Meanwhile 25% of the population depends on public water sources.

The findings also have it that 29% of housewives do have some form of education. However, 65% of these have at least primary school level.

Since 2005 when the Statistics institute was put up, it has released numerous studies on the welfare status in Rwanda.

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