ITU report ranks Rwanda’s ICT sector most dynamic

Rwanda is among the most dynamic developing countries in terms of ICT, according to the latest report by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), due in part to its efforts in bridging the “digital divide”.

The country was named as one of six developing nations that were making significant strides in ICT development in the annual report, entitled “Measuring the Information Society 2012“.

“The most dynamic performers are primarily from the developing world, and include countries from all regions,” the report noted.

Along with Rwanda, Bahrain, Brazil, Ghana, Kenya and Saudi Arabia were the other developing nations commended for the dynamism of their ICT markets.

Rwanda Youth and ICT minister Jean Philbert Nsengimana, speaking to The New Times, said: “We are glad to be the most dynamic and are challenged to do more, and faster. Although we still have a long way to go, our objective is to be among the top performers globally or at least middle performers.”

It is just the latest report to highlight Rwanda’s progress in the field of OCT. The United Nations Broadband Commission for Digital Development two weeks ago ranked Rwanda top in East Africa and seventh in Africa in terms of countries with active mobile-broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants last year.

Government support has greatly assisted the growth of the sector in the country. Rwanda has laid a 2,500 kilometre fibre optic cable to assist the spread of broadband, while it also has access to the three submarine cables landing on the East African coast. The government made further investments in ICT infrastructure a priority in its most recent budget.

ICT has been central to Rwanda’s economic growth, which is why President Paul Kagame has made it a central plank of his Vision 2020 plans. Rwanda now has one of the highest rates of poverty reduction in the world, displaying a 2.4 per cent drop in poverty each year.

Rwanda has been taking advantage of the credit it received from the report by touting its investment potential at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Telecom World conference, which is taking place in Dubai, United Arab Emirates this week.

Nsengimana said that local technology companies will take part in the forum, and that many countries are looking to follow Rwanda’s lead in terms of tech development.

“We shall represent Rwanda in the international platform showcasing ICT investment opportunities and the progress made in ICT sector,” he said. “At the conference, we will be able to attract investors to come and invest in the ICT sector. For instance, we have potential ICT areas we want people to invest in like access network and technopole projects, among others.”

“We also want to attract venture capitalists in the area of ICT. We have very many innovative projects in our country which lack financing and we shall use the conference platform to attract financiers.”

The annual ITU report showed that ICT uptake continues to grow across the world, and ranked the Republic of Korea as the world’s most advanced ICT economy, followed by Sweden, Denmark, Iceland and Finland. But developing countries are beginning to pull their weight in the market.

“In the mobile sector, developing countries now account for the lion’s share of market growth. Mobile-cellular subscriptions registered continuous double-digit growth in developing country markets, for a global total of six billion mobile subscriptions by end 2011,” the report said.

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