Rwanda, Ericsson to Float New Smart City Initiative

Nairobi recently emerged the smartest city in Africa, creating in the process an incentive for other continental cities to join the bandwagon. In a very recent development, the Government of the Republic of Rwanda has entered into an official agreement with Ericsson, a key Communications and Technology Services provider, to kick-start the smart Rwanda project.

The project will be a critical enabler of the Rwandan vision 2020 and its attendant mid-term economic development and poverty reduction (the EDPRS II) and the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector strategic plan for 2013 to 2018. The initiative is a government effort aimed at applying the power of ICT in the development agenda to transform the social and economic development of the country.

The deal is structured such that Ericsson will provide ICT infrastructure to help Rwanda achieve its ICT development vision, one village at a time.

“Ericsson will invest in ICT infrastructure and also implement the project. We are committed to helping other countries to build smart cities. We are happy to drive the African mission to Rwanda. We will deploy smart solutions for Rwanda smart city initiative. We are pushing to expand smart Rwanda to other countries. The focus is on education, health, agriculture, service sector, among others. We are also discussing with other African countries in the same project,” revealed Fredrik Ledling, President of Ericsson Sub-Saharan Africa during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Jean Nsengimana, the Rwandan Minister for Youth and ICT expressed his optimism at the prospects of such a behemoth project especially with respect to the Vision 2020 agenda. According to him, the core areas to be covered in the project include smart education, smart healthcare, smart governance, smart business, smart agriculture and infrastructure, among others.

“Ericsson has been our partner in the roll out plan. Rwanda is steadily moving towards its vision of becoming an information-rich and knowledge-based economy and society and an ICT hub in the region. The key to the success of smart Rwanda is sustainability of all the country´s interventions. Our strategy will be to rely on the much needed private sector resources and capabilities,” he said.

Smart cities are fast becoming the present-day ICT fad for metropolises around the globe. These cities leverage digital technologies to enhance performance and overall quality of life while reducing city-wide costs and resource consumption. The usual end result is a positive impact on sustainable economic growth, competitiveness, and shared prosperity.

By Emmanuel Iruobe

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