The Government of Rwanda, in collaboration with Intel Corporation, MTN, Bank of Rwanda, ASI-D, Positivo BGH, and Microsoft today announced the launch of a Laptop Purchase Program for University students and lecturers in both public and private institutions. The program is part of the Ministry of Youth and ICT (MYICT), “Viziyo” initiative that aims to accelerate penetration of smart devices in Rwanda and increase countrywide broadband penetration.
Under the Laptop Purchase Program students and lectures will get access to financing from the Bank of Rwanda to purchase Intel-based Positivo BGH laptops bundled with free Microsoft Office 365 license valid for 3 years, free Microsoft Windows 8.1 upgradable to Windows 10, 3G USB Modem and a monthly internet bundle from MTN of 1GB for 1 year.
Speaking at the launch event in Kigali, “Hon. Jean Philbert Nsengimana, Minister for Youth and ICT said, “The government of Rwanda is investing heavily in ICT infrastructure. Already, a national high-speed fibre-optic backbone has been deployed in all thirty districts and also connects eleven border posts. 4G LTE internet covers 14 districts with the aim of covering 95% of the population by 2017. It further installed WI-FI access in all private and public universities. We are launching today the ‘Viziyo’ program that will activate the demand for this infrastructure.”
“We believe providing easy access of devices to our youth will spur innovation outside lecture rooms and connect them to a world of opportunities.” said Hon. Dr. Papias Musafiri Malimba, Minister of Education.
The goal of Rwanda’s government is to develop the country into middle-income status. By ensuring ICT access to all its citizens and achieving full digitization, Rwanda aims to become Africa’s digital center which is already part of Viziyo’s long term goal.
“As demand for ICT skills increases, there is an urgent need to start preparing young people while they are in school for the 21st century workplace. With the youth population booming we believe supporting education with sustainable and relevant technology is a priority for all of us. We congratulate the government of Rwanda for taking the bold step of creating a sustainable device acquisition program for its university students. We are keen to continue working closely with the government to increase penetration of smart devices in the country,” said Intel’s General Manager for East Africa Mr. Danie Steyn, one of the stakeholders that attended the launch.
Hon. Nsengimana, recognized and applauded MTN, Intel Corporation, ASI-D, Bank of Rwanda, Positivo BGH and Microsoft for their continued support in helping the government equip youth with ICT devices. “This collaboration strategically positions us towards our goal of achieving a digitized and digitally literate nation,” he added.
The next phase of the Laptop Purchase Program will include beneficiaries from other segments such as public and private sector institutions, youth, women cooperatives and community leaders eventually making it a citizen program open to all.
This launch comes at the back of a series of strategic regional and international conferences (Transform Africa) hosted by Rwanda’s government to provide a platform for fellow African countries to explore ways of accelerating technology adoption and fast-tracking broadband deployments across the continent. Rwanda is taking lead and is committed in accelerating broadband penetration.