Rwandan Govt to Create New Agency to Spearhead Implementation of ICT Master Plan

The Rwandan government is set to create a new agency to spearhead the implementation of the recently adopted Smart Rwanda Master Plan.

The master plan, adopted by earlier this month, outlines a five-year plan for the ICT sector in the country and takes effect beginning 2016. It focuses on digitising the economy and positioning ICT as one of the key exports of the country.

Officials at the Ministry of Youth and ICT say the implementation of the master plan will see several Rwanda Development Board staff move to the new agency. The new agency will have an independent budget and will also outsource work to the private sector.

Didier Nkurikiyimfura, the director-general of ICT at the Ministry of Youth and ICT, confirmed the plans while speaking at an ICT joint sector review meeting recently convened to update stakeholders on the future plans in the sector.

Nkurikiyimfura said the plan draws orientation from the Smart Africa Manifesto that was launched during the inaugural Transform Africa Summit in Kigali in October 2013. At the summit, heads of state and government present adopted a Smart African Manifesto that puts the ICT sector at the centre of socio-economic development and transformation.

Nkurikiyimfura said the master plan seeks to build on previous generations of the National Information and Communication Infrastructure plans drawn and implemented every five years beginning 2000 that have guided the ICT sector strategy.

According to the plan’s concept note, the sector strategy took effect in 2011 focusing on aspects such as skills development, cyber security, e-Government and private sector development.

The plan outlines 67 priority projects with an investment value of more than $519 million, some of which are already underway.

“The accumulated economic benefit has been estimated at over $1 billion, which is a 142 percent return on investment. By 2020, it is projected that ICT sector contribution to the gross domestic product (GDP) will grow from 3 percent to 5 percent, while 100,000 new jobs will be created,” the concept note reads in part.

It is expected that increased innovation and mainstreaming of ICT across multiple economic sectors will drive more productivity and expand Rwanda’s export base, especially through business process outsourcing and creative industries.

Nkurikiyimfura said the proposed agency will undertake business and innovation, national economic digital transformation to facilitate other sectors adopting ICT and future planning focusing on research and development.

Source: New Times Rwanda

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