residents who turn up for recieving their smatphone through connectrwanda program courtesy

Rwanda partners with Google to fast-track digital transformation – The New Times


residents who turn up for recieving their smatphone through connectrwanda program courtesy

Rwanda has partnered with global tech giant, Google, to accelerate the country’s digital transformation necessary for the growth of its innovation ecosystem.

 In a joint statement released by the two parties, Google and the government of Rwanda committed to partnering in several areas.  

They include affordable and universal access to connectivity; adoption of digital platforms; digital skilling for all; and fostering a pan-African innovation ecosystem.

Rwanda’s Minister of ICT and Innovation, Paula Ingabire said that the partnership comes as a tool to enhance Rwanda’s economic transformation.

She highlighted that the partnership with Google will complement the existing efforts to drive digital inclusion, skilling and supporting the growth of economic development leveraging technology.

“We are optimistic that this agreement will drive digital inclusion, and growing the digital economy will continue to drive Rwanda’s economic transformation in line with the country’s vision to become a knowledge-driven economy,” the minister said.

Under the agreement, Google will support Rwanda to set up a national programme to scale up digital literacy among Rwandan citizens by recruiting digitally-savvy youth to deliver digital literacy training.

Dubbed, Training of Trainers pilot programme, it will have the aim to create national digital ambassadors.

A fintech incubation programme for early-stage companies will be piloted, starting with 15 companies in collaboration with Kigali Innovation City. In addition, 500 developers will be upskilled through Google’s developer training and community support programs.  

E-commerce will also be tackled, as some 3,000 small and medium businesses will be supported to go online while 1,000 IWorkers will also be trained.

The agreement will also see Rwanda’s cultural assets digitised as the National Museums of Rwanda will work with Google to promote access to heritage through digital storytelling.

Rwanda will also be brought to the world through Google Street View by enhancing digital maps of key urban areas.

Commenting on the partnership, Google’s Country Director for Eastern Africa, Agnes Gathaiya described the move as an incredible milestone, which is part of the tech giant’s commitment to support Africa’s digital transformation.

“This collaboration is an important milestone for us, just coming after our CEO’s commitment to the continent to support Africa’s digital transformation,” she said.

She highlighted some of the direct activities that will be conducted under the agreement.

“We will help build a digital Rwanda by up-skilling the youth, digitally accelerating small businesses, supporting start-ups and developers, improved maps and navigation, digitising Rwanda’s cultural heritage as well as supporting a progressive policy framework,” she noted.

The agreement comes at the time Rwanda is implementing a host of digital projects as it positions itself to become a regional ICT hub.

It has introduced e-government portal programme that aims at easing the delivery of public services to the citizens through electronic procedures.

The government is implementing the Connect Rwanda programme which seeks to distribute smartphones to people who cannot afford them.  

Launched in December 2019, the digital divide program aims at creating awareness on digital literacy where over 7,670 smartphones have been distributed with the target to distribute at least one smartphone to each Rwandan household.

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