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The Director General for Rwanda’s Ministry of Information Technology and Communications (MiTEC) has attributed her country’s rapid digital development to ‘good leadership’.
Speaking to AB2020 at the 2017 ITU Telecom World held in Busan, Korea, earlier this week, Claudette Irere (pictured) said Rwanda’s technological transformation stems from the government’s commitment to empowering its citizens.
‘Good leadership is key, given our past,’ she explained. ‘We were in very bad shape 23 years ago, so it is in our own interest that we don’t fall back. We have so many years to catch up on, and we realise that we don’t have much in terms of resources. So it’s us, the people, who are going to make things happen and the leadership in Rwanda understands that. Priorities are set towards achieving goals that are going to help the citizens.’
Recently, Rwanda has been commended by its African peers and global tech industry leaders for modernising its tech infrastructure, including the deployment of cashless payment systems; investing in its young entrepreneurs; and its e-government transformation.
Antoine Sebera, Government Chief Innovation Officer of the Rwanda Information Society Authority – an institution created to implement ICT initiatives, said: ‘We’ve achieved a lot and this is not by chance, but by having good policies in place and having good leadership.
‘We don’t want to see ourselves as leaders because there is still a lot to learn and implement; we don’t want to sit in a comfortable position and say we are the leaders and stop there.’
He adds: ‘Rwanda has been coming to ITU events for quite some time and we find it’s a good community for exchanging experience, showcasing what we’ve been able to implement and also looking at more advanced countries and technologies which are displayed here.’
Claudette agrees: ‘We’re happy and open to learn about what other countries are doing, and when we come to events like ITU this is a great opportunity for us to see and meet other countries doing amazing things. We don’t take this for granted.
‘We’re proud that Rwanda is regarded as a leader, but we don’t want to just sit and be regarded as such. We want to be the real leader.’