by Nirit Ben-Ari
“The Internet is a needed public utility as much as water and electricity,” declared President Paul Kagame at the Transform Africa summit, held in Kigali, Rwanda’s capital city, last October to discuss the future of broadband in Africa.
The choice of Kigali as host did not surprise Information Communication Technology (ICT) experts; Mr. Kagame’s government takes ICT so seriously that it aims to creating an ICT infrastructure comparable to any in the developed world. The choice was also not surprising since Rwanda hosted the Connect Africa summit in 2007 that championed broadband connectivity for the continent.
Rwanda began to relentlessly develop its ICT in 2000 after it adopted the National Information Communications Infrastructure (NICI) policy and created a long-term plan to achieve full digitization in four five-year stages. The NICI plan was further integrated into Vision 2020, which is the government’s comprehensive programme to transform Rwanda into a middle-income country by 2020. In fact, one of the main goals of Vision 2020 is to “to transition her agrarian economy to an information-rich, knowledge-based one by 2020.”