Unfortunately, what first often comes to one’s mind at the mention of Rwanda is the terrible genocide of 1994 that brutally wiped out 20% of Rwanda’s population. President Paul Kagame, previously the commander of the rebel force that ended the genocide, has since been working hard to change the country’s position and reputation. The now completed eRwanda project was successful in utilising ICT to strengthen and improve the government and its internal processes. The next step? A Smart Rwanda.
Almost a year ago the Republic of Rwanda entered an official agreement with Ericsson to provide ICT infrastructure for the transformation of Rwanda’s villages to thriving Smart Cities. The focus of the Smart Rwanda project is on governance, education, health, agriculture, and infrastructure and is scheduled to be completed by 2018.
From an outsider’s perspective the project appears to be going well, with a Smart Africa secretariat due to open in Rwanda’s Capital Kigali sometime this week. There are however some concerns being raised about Rwanda’s democratic future after President Kagame recently changed the constitution to retain power for a third term; a move which violates Rwanda’s original constitution.
Let’s hope this move towards a smarter Rwanda will help further enable the transparency of the Rwandan government and enforce the democratic values the country has worked so hard to instil over the past two decades.