Since last year, several countries, faced with their digital gaps during the Covid-19, have taken out loans to accelerate their transformation. Rwanda, which is among the African nations with a commendable level of digital preparation, has also decided to go beyond its current achievements.
The World Bank announced on 1 st December approving funding of $ 100 million to Rwanda’s place. The money will be used to improve people’s access to high-speed connectivity and digital services.
The total amount granted to Rwanda is the result of co-financing from the World Bank through the International Development Association (IDA) – an internal body which helps the development of poor countries through grants and loans at low interest rates. low or zero interest – and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) of which Rwanda is a non-regional member.
Rolande Pryce, the World Bank’s Country Director for Rwanda, said “ expanding digital access and adoption, improving digital public service delivery and promoting digital innovation are essential for the Rwanda’s digital transformation, which in turn can contribute to a strong post-Covid-19 recovery ”.
The funding granted to the Rwandan government is part of the Rwanda Digital Acceleration Project launched last year and piloted by the Rwandan Information Society Authority (RISA), to further support the digitization efforts undertaken by the country since. 2000 and accelerate its digital transformation to make it a knowledge-based economy, an upper middle income country by 2035. This is the second investment of the AIIB in Rwanda and the first co-financing of digital projects of the World Bank with the AIIB.
According to Isabella Hayward, digital development specialist at the World Bank and head of the project’s task force, the project “will help Rwanda improve the affordability of digital devices and services, but also close persistent gaps. in basic digital literacy, in order to increase local demand for digital services and platforms ”.
“ The project will also support the aspirations of the Rwandan government to provide 24-hour, cashless, paperless and fully transactional, government-to-government, government-to-business and government-to-person electronic services. central government and sector level, ”she added.
The new project will help the government expand digital access and adoption by leading a series of innovative digital access and inclusion initiatives, including supporting 250,000 households in the acquisition of smart devices as well as ” training three million people in basic digital literacy (targeting girls and women). It will also support digital innovation by strengthening the local entrepreneurship ecosystem, developing Rwanda’s digital talent base and helping technology companies move from start-up to growth. At least 300 digital start-ups will be directly supported by the project, with a focus on those owned by women.