The New Times (Kigali)

Rwanda: Tigo, UN Agency Sign Rwf3.5 Billion Deal to Support ICT Developers

Tigo and One UN Rwanda have signed a multi-million four-year agreement aimed at promoting youth and women employment through Information Communication Technologies (ICTs).

Under the deal, the two institutions agreed to jointly develop corporate social responsibility programmes that will support Rwandans to develop ICT solutions and solve their day-to-day problems, according Lamin Manneh, the UN resident co-ordinator.

Manneh said the joint initiatives will include development of mobile phone applications to ease access to health care, support agricultural productivity, and education.

The initiative is also geared at supporting applications (apps) developers in the country, he added.

Manneh said it would also support government programmes under the second Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS II) and supplement efforts towards the attainment of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Speaking at the signing ceremony at Tigo's technology hub, think, in Kacyiru, Kigali, Manneh said they have earmarked $5m (Rwf3.5b) for projects in different sectors of the economy. He added that they were in talks with other companies to sign similar partnerships.

Tongai Maramba, the Tigo Rwanda boss, said they have contributed $400,000 (Rwf276.5m) so far for the activities, noting that they were looking at enabling Rwandans live digital lifestyles.

Minister for Youth and ICT, Jean Philbert Nsengimana, commended the partnership, saying it was a ground-breaking step for public-private partnerships.

He challenged software developers not to always wait for funding to start developing solutions.

Rwandan ICT entrepreneurs have been at the forefront of developing solutions that ease the livelihoods of Rwandans, especially those in rural areas.

Recently, four students from the University of Rwanda's College of Science and Technology developed an app which analyses soil fertility.

"After analysing, one is able to tell what nutrients are in the soil and what crops can grow well on that piece of land," explained Dieudonne Ukurikiyeyesu, one of the students in an earlier interview with The New Times.

With more support like the one Tigo and One UN Rwanda are offering, developers like these could augment Rwanda's efforts to become an ICT hub.

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