In 2013, worldwide telecommunications will reach $2. 3 trillion in revenues . The revenue from telecommunication services is projected to grow at the rate of 3. 8 percent . Not only is the telecommunications industry monetarily strong but also has a great impact on the social and economic development of the world. Telecommunications has changed the way people live, interact and conduct businesses. Rwanda, commonly known as “ the Land of a Thousand Hills”, is a country in central Africa. This country faced acivil warin 1993.
Between April and June 1994, an estimated 800, 000 Rwandans were killed . After this genocide, one of the most important areas of development that the Government focused on was Information andCommunicationTechnology(ICT). Rwanda, with its hilly terrain, is favorable for growing tea and coffee. Export of tea comprised of 70% of its export . Thus during the U. S. recession of 2009, Rwanda’s GDP grew by 4. 1% in comparison to 11. 2% a year before . The geography of the country and the underdeveloped road/rail transportation adds on to increased cost in exporting goods .
One of the main reasons for focusing on ICT policy was to convert Rwanda from an agrarian economy to an information-centric economy . In order to achieve this, the Government has implemented National Information and Communication Technology (ICT) policy . Earlier in Rwanda, there were a very few newspapers published on a weekly or even on biweekly basis. The Rwandan Government used to broadcast radio all throughout the day in order to educate people . But this effort did not scale nationwide and the nature of information was limited.
There were three major telecommunications providers in the country by 2012, because of National ICT policy and privatization of Rwanda’s telecommunications industry. Telecommunications services have provided a broader source of information through the Internet and has facilitated in educating the people of Rwanda across the nation. One of the mainhealthcare issues faced in Rwanda is spread of HIV/AIDS. Innovative ways, such as bulk short message services (SMS), have been used to create awareness among people regarding the virus.
The Rwanda Government has given out free cell phones to community health care volunteers, in an attempt to help pregnant women . If there are any questions, updates, or complications regarding the pregnancy, health volunteers text the local clinic and get a response within minutes . Such telecommunications services have helped the social development of Rwanda. Up until 2006 telecommunications in Rwanda was state owned monopoly. Since then there has been privatization of the telecommunications industry .
Privatization of the industry led to the arrival of international telecommunications giants. Foreign investment in the telecommunication industry has become one of the channels for the government to increase its revenue. In the fiscal year of 2011/ 2012, Rwanda’s government lost over $23 million because of fuel tax reduction. During the same fiscal year, Bharti Airtel, one of the international telecommunications giant from India, bought a telecommunications license worth $100 million . The Rwanda Government has used this payment to offset part of Rwanda’s fiscal deficit .
In order to increase their customer base, all of the telecommunications companies have introduced mobilemoneyservices. This service allows customers to send and receive money within the country and also overseas . Almost, Rwf45 billion has been transferred to and from Rwanda from the inception of this service. The telecommunications companies are directly licensed by the National Bank of Rwanda to facilitate mobile money services. The mobile money service has helped in providing more financial services .
Telecommunications has helped economicdevelopment of the countryby enabling easy transfer of money . In conclusion, ICT is helping to re-build Rwanda. The National ICT policy and action plan re-emphasizes the importance of ICT. Telecommunications has helped Rwanda develop socially and economically. This analysis has made me realize that telecommunications is not just any other industry, but has the power to change lives of millions.
- Anonymous (2012). ‘ Worldwide Telecommunications Industry Revenue to Reach $2. Trillion in 2013, [Online] Available: http://www. kten. com/story/20754074/worldwide-telecommunications-industry-revenue-to-reach-22-trillion-in-2013-says-insight-research-corp Accessed on January 30, 2013.
- Anonymous. [Online] Available: http://www. historycentral. com/nationbynation/Rwanda/Economy. html Accessed on January 30, 2013
- K. David (2004, May). ‘ IMPLEMENTING THE NATIONAL ICT POLICY AND PLAN in RWANDA’ [Online]. Available: http://www. powershow. com/view/200885-ZTVmZ/IMPLEMENTING_THE_NATIONAL_ICT_POLI