Rwanda: Mobile, Internet Penetration on Agenda Ahead of Mobile World Congress
The measures and policies needed to accelerate mobile phone penetration and internet coverage in Africa will be among the main talking points at Mobile World Congress 2022.
This was announced by Yves Iradukunda, permanent secretary at the Ministry of ICT and Innovation, on October 17, during a press briefing on the conference organized by the Global Systems of Mobile Associations.
The conference scheduled for October 25-27 in Kigali will bring together more than 2,000 people, including global mobile operators, device manufacturers, technology providers, content providers and owners, decision makers, and more.
According to the official, more than 50 countries will be represented at the congress which is taking place for the first time in Africa.
“As a country looking to position itself as a leading ICT hub on the continent and a pioneer in digital transformation, with high-speed connectivity being a key competitive differentiator, hosting the MWCA is a strategic avenue to achieve this goal,” said Iradukunda.
This meeting comes at a time when Rwanda is trying to bridge the gap of the unconnected by having productive discussions with broadband vendors, he noted.
“Our goal will also be to ensure that citizens have access to smart gadgets that allow them to use the internet for different services. But we miss the point if we don’t invest in digital literacy.”
Iradukunda revealed that they will be deploying 1,500 digital ambassadors across the country to ensure that digital skills increase as access to gadgets increases.
Currently, internet connectivity in Rwanda stands at 60.6% of the entire population, while mobile phone penetration stands at 81.4%.
According to the 2021 State of Mobile Internet Connectivity Report, In sub-Saharan Africa, only 28% of the population are connected to broadband, 19% are not covered by mobile Internet and the data gap utilization reaches 53%. . This is mainly due to limited affordability.
The congress will also feature the AfricaNenda launch of the report on the state of instant and inclusive payment systems in Africa and a Mobile for Development program that aims to reach women and underserved groups at scale.
“The kind of partnerships we need for the continent are those that allow our people to create the right content…it’s an industry that needs sharing of experience and, more importantly, attracting investments from different participants capable of driving mobile connectivity further,” noted Iradukunda.
He pointed out that this is a great opportunity for industry players to engage and form the right partnerships for the desired connectivity solutions in Rwanda and the continent as a whole.
At the forefront, Rwanda has ongoing projects it will showcase at the conference for investment, such as the $200 million Rwanda Digital Acceleration Project which seeks to make affordable smartphones available, and Last Mile Connectivity which focuses on Internet access in schools and hospitals, among others. .