Ready to sweat some more
TWO weeks ago we celebrated our golden jubilee of independence and almost two decades of liberation; it was heart-warming to see the spirit of patriotism in the papers, on social media, you name it.
In as much as there is so much to pat oneself on the back for, I am more excited by the drive within us to see Rwanda take leaps and bounds over the last half of our century of independence.
And yes, with lofty visions, comes extraordinary hard work! I have spent a few days pondering over what that translates into in terms of technology.
(By the way, it does not matter that Rwanda seeks to be the service giant of the region, a robust technology infrastructure fuelled by a native tech environment is necessary to harness an effective service industry).
The past 18 years have seen the telecom industry gain momentum like never before: three service providers, an optical fibre backbone countrywide, to mention a few.
But the numbers when it comes to Internet penetration (or even smart phone penetration) show the gap that calls to be filled.
A ‘smart economy’ driven by advances in telecommunications and ICT will mean that some day you could buy tomatoes at your local market with the tap of your cell phone. The use of the scenario at the market is only to demonstrate to what extent we should seek to advance technologically as a population.
But Internet penetration means computer literacy. ICT developments that integrate computers into the curriculum and learning system are paramount; if this effort is nationwide, a new generation of computer-savvy students will radically transform the economy.
I am always wondering about the issue of language, however: why aren’t most major web pages translated into Kinyarwanda? (It is after all our responsibility and calls for our initiative).
An indicator of success is self-sufficiency, especially when it comes to food; an increase in farmers’ income and labour productivity will prove beneficial as well. Mechanisation of agriculture for increased volume of production will be revolutionary.
Given the rapidly growing population in our landlocked country, maybe I should have started off with this point.
It is easy to envision tractors tilling the land all over the country except for the sad reality that electrification is still a work in progress (less than 10% of the population has access to electricity) and transportation networks are still wanting; not to mention the fact that most Rwandans have no access to clean water.
I will not even go into the need for more trained medical staff, or the gaping hole in the industry sector.
Fact of the matter is, with fifty years ahead, we cannot get comfortable with the achievements of the past five decades. Now that the celebrations are done, allow me to be the sombre call to reality: a sour taste in the mouth but perhaps aggravating enough to spur you to action. A toast to the next fifty years of sweat!
Contact email: akintore[at]gmail.com