Rwanda leading in IT while others stagnate
Rwanda's rise as an ICT powerhouse has been credited to a youthful president who insists that the country must set the standard in the region. Paul Kagame is committed to teaching other presidents in the region a lesson on use of IT to make systems efficient and deliver services.
He started by insisting that inter-ministry communication should be via e-mail to reduce the bureaucracy and focus on the core business of public service. At first, it looked like a joke, but all had to comply.
Rwanda has since introduced electronic identity cards. It may not be the most efficient, given the challenges that face rural Africa, but at least the country has started and will learn from its mistakes.
The ultimate may have been the awards won by SMS Media and Electrogaz on their use of mobile technology in the purchase and payment of electricity bills.
What has the region been doing? Watching Rwanda in awe!
For instance, there have been so many suggestions to Kenya Power and Lighting Company on how technology can improve services and introduce prepaid billing. The company just enjoys the monopoly, and the reports just gather dust.
On the political front, the aging leaders point to Kagame's youth as the reason why they will not be quick to follow Rwanda. Of course, the steps become slower with age, but Rwanda is taking giant strides towards leveraging technology in industrial production and governance.
Government support and action means a lot. Rwanda has been supportive of the industry and the legislative process is faster. It has taken Kenya more than 10 years to get an ICT policy. It has been two years since the policy was passed. Still no act!
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