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Rwanda’s Digital Transformation

As Caribbean nations attempt digital transformation, it’s useful to look at what other countries are doing. One such country is Rwanda, which has already made significant progress.

Here are three ways that Rwanda is using technology to strengthen its economy and improve the lives of its citizens.

Using Satellites to Increase Internet Access

The east African nation has partnered with One Web, a UK technology company to enhance internet connectivity in hard to reach areas.

Rwanda Launches Icyerekezo Satellite to Connect Rural Schools to the Internet

“Rwanda’s choice to invest in space technologies is part of our broader mission to bridge the digital divide by providing equal digital opportunities to rural and remote communities,” explained Rwanda’s Minister of ICT and Innovation, Her Excellency the Honourable Paula Ingabire ahead of the launch of the Icyerekezo satellite, so-named by students from one of the first schools that will benefit from it.

According to Rwanda’s KT Press, the satellite will be operational in April 2021.

Supporting Home-Grown Software Development

Rwanda’s government has set up a fund to support tech start-ups that are working to develop software and applications for use in multiple areas, including agriculture, currently the country’s largest sector.

Ministry of ICT says Rwanda will have $50 worth of software development startups by 2024

Delivering Lifesaving Medical Supplies Using Drones

Rwanda’s rugged terrain makes some villages hard to reach, meaning that in an emergency medical situation, such as someone in urgent need of a blood transfusion, a life that might otherwise have been saved could be lost. To avoid these often-preventable deaths, Rwanda is using drone technology to deliver blood to remote hospitals and clinics within minutes.


Zipline in Rwanda

While Rwanda’s needs and focus may differ from Caribbean states’, there is still much the region can learn from it about leveraging technology to build a better society and more resilient economy.

Her Excellency the Honourable Paula Ingabire will be one of the panellists at the October edition of the Central Bank of Barbados’ 2020 Caribbean Economic Forum, “How to Digitise an Economy”, which takes place Tuesday, October 27 at 8:00 p.m.