Rwanda Hotel and Restaurant Association together with the Ministry of Youth and ICT (MYICT), the Kigali city including other operators such as Rwanda Development Board (RDB), Rwanda Utilities and Regulatory Agency (RURA) and major Telecom Operators jointly launched the Smart Kigali initiative to improve the standard of service delivery in Rwanda.
Launched on September 20, 2013 the Smart Kigali initiative, which will provide free Internet in certain public places, is aimed at modernizing the lifestyle of Kigali City dwellers and visitors through use of ICT for better service delivery.
The Minister of Youth and ICT, Jean Philbert Nsengimana hails this initiative to be enhanced by the broadband.
“Broadband is there, to fast track business, information exchange, information generation and consumption; it’s a foundation of a knowledge economy, Said Nsengimana.
“I expect this to accelerate our move from agriculture based economy to a knowledge based economy,” he added.
The initiative is expected to provide free broadband Wi-Fi Internet access in public places that include commercial buildings, Bus Stations, Airport, in public transport buses and cabs.
Among others, improving Internet connectivity and access in Hotels and restaurants, establishing online automated navigation system for direction using the newly implemented street and home addressing information system.
These will include introducing automated ticketing and taxi meters in public transport; and electronic payments systems to improve financial services.
The Mayor of the City of Kigali Fidele Ndayisaba pointed out that, “This is yet another step in advancing the use of ICT in our city and it will enhance service delivery, access to information for the city residents”.
Mayor Ndayisaba also emphasized that, “High speed internet connection and easy access will also make the visitors’ experience in Kigali more enjoyable”. He added that the City of Kigali is committed to the use of ICT for a better City.
To begin with, free Wi-Fi in public places will be provided at Union Trade Center, Kigali City Tower, Kigali City Market, MTN Center, Nyabugogo Bus Park, Remera-Kisementi.
Others will be the Stade Amahoro, Kigali Public Library, Kanombe International Airport, KBC, Kacyiru Ministere, KIST and KIE. Internet connectivity at these sites will be powered by BSC Ltd, MTN Rwanda, TIGO Rwanda Ltd, AIRTEL, LIQUID Telecom and ISPA.
Automated taxi meters have also been installed in some taxicabs showing the fare to be charged for a trip. The automated taxi meters will protect both drivers and passengers from fare-based conflicts.
To improve financial services, the Electronic Payments Systems has been enhanced to promote efficient use of existing payments systems such as ATM’s VISA cards and others that facilitate electronic transactions.
All these services will position Kigali not only as a clean city but also a connected and smart city.
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) 2012 report ranked Rwanda among the top 10 countries in Africa with active mobile-broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants.
ITU says 95 per cent broadband penetration will translate into a 10 to 13 per cent boost in Growth Domestic Product growth for Rwanda.
The broadband service providers in the country include MTN Rwanda, Tigo, Airtel, Broadband Systems Corporation, New Artel, Liquid Telecom and Rwandatel.