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Digital Citizens and Miss Geek: meet Rwanda

telecomworld 2017 Daily Highlights 2

Rwanda has long been at the forefront of government-led digital transformation – and not just in Africa. Following its dream of transforming the country into a knowledge-based economy by 2020, Rwanda has worked hard to create an enabling policy and regulatory environment, develop infrastructure and smart services, support a flourishing digital entrepreneurship ecosystem, and build human capacity.

Rwanda’s National Pavilion provides an excellent opportunity to discuss initiatives in all these areas, including “Irembo”, a digital government platform set to feature some 100 operational services by the end of the year. It enables citizens to access and pay for government services effectively, simply and at reduced cost – but in its first two years, it has exposed the need to continue work on developing citizens’ digital skills.

Enter the new Digital Talent Policy, aimed at strengthening ICT training and qualifications in Rwanda to increase digital literacy and bridge the existing skills gap. All levels of society in Rwanda should be able to access digital training, both as part of everyday activities and at the heart of the national education curriculum.  Building up a critical mass of 10 000 ICT experts will transform the country into a producer and exporter of ICTs both in the region, and globally.

The ultimate goal is digital literacy for all, with the internet as a basic utility and full digitalized citizens and government by 2050. The National Pavilion here at ITU Telecom World 2017 also showcases one of the future stars of that digital nation: Leah Akingeneye, Ms. Geek 2017.

Ms. Geek Rwanda is a competition designed and organized by Girls in ICT Rwanda to inspire girls to use technology, innovation and critical thinking to solve problems in the country, and to consider careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths). Leah’s winning solution is the Bus System Simulator, a web and mobile-based solution using real-time data to improve public transport in the capital, Kigali. The app lets commuters locate the nearest bus stop and buses, destinations and available space, enabling transport operators to track trips and plan better.

Smart digital transformation is truly underway in Rwanda!