Why Rwanda Ranks No. 1 In Africa For ICT Development

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ICT bus, Rwanda 
Photo: UN.org ICT bus, Rwanda Photo: UN.org

Rwanda ranked No. 1 in Africa and 19th in the world — ahead of the U.S., France and South Korea — in a World Economic Forum index for political and regulatory environment helping ICT business development and penetration, Mail&Guardian reports.

South Africa ranked No. 2  on the same index.for regulations and laws helping ICT. Property rights and the rule of law were taken into consideration.

There were multiple subindexes in the World Economic Forum’s Global Information Technology Report 2015.

The report ranked Rwanda No. 1 for government success in promoting ICT to drive social and economic transformation, according to BizTechAfrica.

The report was released Wednesday in Geneva, Switzerland, as part of the
Networked Readiness Index which measures policies, institutions and other factors that promote well being and competitiveness through ICT.

The majority of African countries were at the bottom of the overall rankings, given high poverty levels and poor infrastructure, according to Mail&Guardian.

Only Mauritius made it into the top half of the overall rankings, at No. 45 overall.

Overall, Rwanda ranked No 83 out of 143 countries surveyed, No. 5 overall in Africa and No. 1 overall in the region, according to  BizTechAfrica.

Rwanda is becoming a regional center for the training of top quality ICT professionals and research, said Jean Philbert Nsengimana, Rwanda’s Minister of Youth and ICT. “A robust ICT industry creates wealth, jobs and entrepreneurs,” he told BizTechAfrica.

New developments in Rwanda’s ICT scene include K­Lab, a youth innovation hub; Think, a technology hub in Kigali; Rwanda Media Hub; The Office;  and YouthConnekt, which connects the youth to role models, resources, skills and employment opportunities.

The new Kigali Innovation City has attracted the first Carnegie Mellon University campus in Africa. This is an opportunity for real estate developers and tech multinationals, Nsengimana said.

South Africa ranked No. 5 in ICT infrastructure in Africa, after Seychelles, Libya, Mauritius and Algeria, according to in Mail&Guardian. Rwanda ranked No. 13.

Rwanda ranked No. 1 in Africa for social impact of technology thanks to improvements in well being — especially education, energy consumption, health and the environment.

South Africa ranked No. 15.

Rwanda’s high performance was boosted by its One-Laptop-Per-Child policy which distributed more than 200,000 laptops to grade schoolers.

Kenya and Senegal ranked No. 10 and No. 19 for their policy and regulatory environments.

For infrastructure, Kenya ranked No. 9, and Senegal, No. 20.

Kenya ranked No. 2 for both economic and social impacts, and Senegal ranked No. 5.

Nigeria ranked No. 8 in the economic impact of technology, but did not make Africa’s top 20 rankings for policy, regulation or infrastructure, according to Mail&Guardian.

Since 2001, the Networked Readiness Index has reported annual assessments of 53 individual indicators grouped under four ICT-related umbrellas: environment, readiness, usage and impacts, BizTechAfrica reports.

Data is gathered from publicly available sources and the results of a global opinion survey of 13,000 business executives conducted by the World Economic Forum and its 160 partner institutes.

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