The country of Thousand Hills now counts on Icyerekezo, its satellite launched from Guyana, to cover remote areas that do not have access to the Internet.

A solution from the sky. To provide Internet to schools located in remote areas of the country, the Rwandan authorities have the solution: a satellite. The country has joined forces with a British company specializing in the sector, announced last week the Rwandan Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and Innovation. The vehicle, nicknamed Icyerekezo, Vision, left the earth on the night of February 27, 2019, around 11:30 pm, from the Kourou base.

The initiative took shape as part of a partnership with the US One Web program, which was launching its first launch of six satellites dedicated to internet communications today. By 2021, the eponymous company should launch a total of over 600 Rwandan satellite, it was built in Toulouse and will provide high-speed internet at the school of St. Peter Nkombo, located on the island Nkombo Lake Kivu.

Fight the digital divide
Although the approach is unprecedented for Rwanda, it sticks however perfectly with the digital strategy in which the country has embarked on in recent years: that of a “hyperconnected” country. “Without Internet access, economies are stagnating, education is lagging behind, and development is considerably slower than in connected regions,” the ministry said in a statement. To fight at all costs against the digital divide, the country promotes the “Rwanda Digital Talent” policy, a project of the Ministry of ICT launched in June 2016. The goal: to strengthen citizens’ capacities in the digital domain, and to reduce mismatch between the supply of the sector and the growing demand.

For this, the government focuses on youth, and especially on the training of Rwandans. On February 22, the country inaugurated its very first computer code school in Nyabihu District, in the west. “We start with sixty students, but the goal is to be able to deploy at least five coding academies. It is expected in every province, every year, the enrollment of about three hundred students who can specialize to become experts, “said Paula Ingabire, the Minister of ICT.


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