The Rwanda Development Gateway Group has been launched to apply information and communication technologies (ICT) to advance social and economic development in Rwanda. The Group is a partnership of the Development Gateway Foundation and the Government of Rwanda, with the Kigali Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) and National University of Rwanda (NUR) as implementing agencies. The Group consists of three key programs: a Regional ICT Research and Training Center housed at KIST; the Rwanda Development Gateway, initially housed at the NUR, which will host a local portal of development information and other ICT services for development; and a strengthening of the NUR’s Regional Outreach Center for Geographic Information Systems and Remote Sensing, including links to the Rwanda Development Gateway.
Rwanda is a founding member of the Development Gateway Foundation, one of whose key objectives is to build local capacity to use ICT for development. The Rwanda Group is launching one of the newest members in the Development Gateway Foundation’s network of 58 local Development Gateways. ICT has become an increasingly important factor for development, as recognized in Rwanda’s “Vision 2020” strategy for reaching middle income status by 2020–in part by developing an increasingly knowledge-based economy. The strategy stems from an understanding of the importance of science and technology both to national development and to effective engagement in today’s global networked economy.
The Rwanda Development Gateway Group supports this agenda, with plans to apply ICT to such areas as teacher-training and egovernment. Information technology tools to be developed include a geographic information system that will help inform policymaking by mapping the country’s people, resources, and assets. The Group is also collaborating with the World Bank on its Human Resources Development Project in an effort to improve the educational system, in providing computers and teacher training to primary and secondary schools, and on its Multi-Sector Capacity Building Project, a cross-sectoral effort focusing on improving the human capacity within the country. The Group expects operations to begin early in 2004.