RESIDENTS of Nyamasheke district, Western Province, have been urged to make use of the available Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) to speed up their socio-economic development.
Addressing the residents last week, Rosemary Mbabazi, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Youth and ICT, said ICT use is central to economic transformation. She was in Nyamasheke as part of the ongoing ICT literacy and awareness campaign.
"Businesses can't develop without ICT. That's why ICT is crucial in whatever we do," Mbabazi said. "We are talking about the development of the private sector, businesses and local people."
The event attracted thousands of residents, business operators, representatives of banks and other financial institutions, public institutions as well as telecomunication companies.
At the function, various companies showcased their innovations and use of ICT, especially online and SMS-based services they offer to the population.
Mbabazi told Nyamasheke residents that ICT is part of everyday life and emphasised the need to embrace it. She cited agriculture, education and livestock farming, among other sectors, as some areas where ICT use can make significant impact.
The district mayor, Jean Baptiste Habyarimana, said 45 per cent of residents own mobile phones. He said the target is to bring the number to at least 70 per cent by 2017.
Habyarimana said to achieve the target, local leaders will work hand-in-hand with other partners to educate the community on the benefits of using available technological resources and equipment.
He also said the district will work to ease access to Internet in public institutions, schools and other businesses.
Initiated by the Ministry of Youth and ICT in collaboration with other ministries as well as its various stakeholders in ICT promotion, the five-year ICT literacy awareness campaign was launched in January in Rulindo district, Northern Province.
Its purpose is to drive the awareness and use of ICT services, content and applications to increase ICT literacy, educate and train the masses and businesses on the potential of ICT to drive competitiveness, efficiency, transparency as well as civic participation.