Rwanda looks to laptops to improve the knowledge economy
For a substantially rural and traditional country like Rwanda, supplying the next generation with laptops marked a change in the region's future.
Five years ago, non-profit One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) began granting schools free laptops to issue to their students. Since the initiative launched, over 200,000 laptops have been distributed in over 400 schools within the east African region.
Providing children with this type of technology for their educational use is only one sign that Rwanda is looking to IT in order to improve its knowledge economy -- and therefore future financial prospects. This year, a deal was signed between Rwanda and Korea Telecom to provide 4G technology across the country, and the government has laid 3,000km of fibre-optic cables to give citizens living outside of the capital Internet access.
Rwanda's Vision 2020 would like to see the country improve the IT skills and general education of its citizens through technology, in order to boost job creation and bring Rwanda up to speed in the modern world.
Rwanda President Paul Kagame says that IT can help turn the country into a tech hub which will help its citizens "find jobs, feed their children and regain their dignity."
Clare Akamanzi, chief executive of the Rwanda Development Board says that Rwanda wants to "evolve from being an agriculture-based economy to a knowledge-based economy, mainly on high value services."
The country has grown in recent times. Last year, Rwanda's economy grew by over seven percent, and the World Bank has ranked Rwanda the third best country in sub-Saharan Africa in its "Doing Business" index.
Rwanda is still a largely traditional and rural country, but as the government sees progress, despite political issues, it will likely keep treading the path to modernization.
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