The New Times (Kigali)

26 December 2012

Rwanda: ICT Assessment Strategy in the Making

With effect from next year, government will be able to track the progress registered by ICT usage in various sectors, as a way of assessing its contribution towards national development.

Philbert Nsengimana, the Minister of Youth and ICT, said this on Monday, during a meeting that brought together representatives from various sectors that will be part of the drive.

"By tracking our progress, we are not looking at improving ranking, we want to assess work done in line with our responsibilities, so that we identify the challenges to come with effective measures," Nsengimana said.

He explained that with the new initiative, tracking - which will be facilitated by information obtained from various sectors - will be done on a quarterly basis, which will give them a basis to determine progress annually.

The sectors of focus include education, agriculture, health, local government and finance.

Other partners expected to play a role in the exercise include Rwanda Utility Regulatory Agency (RURA), which will avail information in various areas that include telecom use and investment.

Nsengimana said that an annual report will be produced indicating the role and how the use of ICT in the various sectors has contributed in terms of improving service delivery.

Didier Ukurikiyinfura, the director in charge of ICT at the ministry, said that factors to be considered will rhyme with international standard; considering those used by international organizations like the International Telecommunication Union.

This is a UN Agency that annually produces the "Measuring the Information Society" report that considers ICT development in 160 countries around the World.

In its recent report, it ranked Rwanda among the developing nations with strong dynamic ICT markets based on the mechanisms in place to enable bridging gaps of the so-called 'digital divide'.

The report that identified the group of countries with the lowest ICT Development Index levels; countries it termed as 'Least Connected Countries', called on policy makers to pay attention on the need to bridge the gaps.

"In addition to the international factors considered that also include access, use, infrustracture development and affordability of ICT services, we are so much going to consider computer literacy in our communities; as this is a very important factor in building a knowledge based economy," said Ukurikiyinfura.

He explained that internet or connectivity is only important for any community if members are able to put it to proper use.

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