A team of IBM (NYSE: IBM) experts presented recommendations to Rwandan authorities to bolster the country’s development, public safety, citizen engagement and economic opportunities.
Consistent with the country’s ambitious SMART Rwanda agenda, IBM’s report emphasized ways in which information technologies such as data analytics could help the nation reach its goals. Sharing and analyzing useful data in a timely way will enable officials to more easily formulate, monitor and refine the progress of their plans.
The 12-person IBM team, from eight countries, spent one month in the capital Kigali, working on three projects, aligned with the government’s SMART Rwanda agenda. They collaborated closely with the Rwanda Development Board, Rwanda National Police and Imbuto Foundation, with the support of First Lady Jeanette Kagame, the Ministry of Youth and ICT.
This was the first deployment in Rwanda of IBM’s Corporate Service Corps which provides problem-solving support to educational institutions, small businesses, non-governmental organizations, and governmental agencies in emerging markets. Africa has become a strong focus for IBM’s Corporate Service Corps as IBM expands its operations across the continent and forges new strategic relationships with governments, clients and not-for-profit organizations.
Rwanda saw remarkable development over the last decade, including high growth (further, the World Bank projects an economic growth rate of 7.4% in 2015*), rapid poverty reduction and reduced inequality. The country’s long-term development goals are embedded in the Vision 2020 strategy, which seeks to transform Rwanda from an agrarian to a knowledge-based economy.
“ICT plays a central role in Rwanda’s transformational journey towards our Vision 2020” said Hon. Jean Philbert Nsengimana, Minister of Youth and ICT. “Higher levels of broadband connectivity, skills and usage of ICT in different sectors are increasing economic competitiveness, improving citizen engagement and transforming social services. We value IBM experts’ recommendations and we appreciate their contribution to our development”.
At the end of their assignment, IBM specialists presented their findings and recommendations to three clients, and providing them with blueprints to help them implement their short, medium and long term plans:
Rwanda Development Board: IBM team provided a blueprint for the implementation of a Smart Dashboard that will give one-visit visibility to all the data and details of SMART Rwanda Program, with its diverse range of ICT projects. This recommendation comes as an answer to the difficulties encountered in the process of collecting information and providing accurate reports in real time. The dashboard mechanism will empower all the stakeholders to easily know the status of the projects and take informed decisions, based on insights.
Rwanda National Police: Starting from the analysis of the current operations, IBM specialists provided recommendations on an overall framework to continue integration of ICT into the police’s activities. This will allow data sharing and analysis across departments, but it will also help improve operational efficiency and streamline processes, as well as making information more accessible to Rwandan citizens as appropriate.
Imbuto Foundation: IBM team came up with a set of recommendations to support the rollout of the SMART Rwanda Master Plan WEM-Tech initiative. This is designed to empower women by increasing their access and participation in different economic opportunities through the enablement of technology.
“The Corporate Services Corps is a powerful initiative that contributes to the socio-economic development of the countries where our teams do their month-long community service assignments”, said Nicholas Nesbitt, IBM East Africa General Manager. “In Rwanda, IBM’s recommendations can help the institutions capitalize on the ICT systems and the data they have, in order to drive growth”.
In March 2015, IBM and Rwanda Ministry of Education signed a long-term agreement to improve research capabilities in institutions of higher learning through the use of modern technology. University of Rwanda is the first institution to start training sessions.