Rwanda’s aggressive approach towards technological inclusion is fruiting exceptional results as numbers of internet users gradually loft up every time statistics are unveiled.
According to Rwanda Utilities and Regulatory Authority (RURA)’s recent report, Rwandans who use internet have reached 52.1% of the population; which is 6.1 million, in the last quarter of 2018, that covered September to December.
The statistics are a surprising revelation considering that Rwanda’s initial target was to reach internet access to 35% of population by 2020 from 7.9% who were counted back in 2010.
RURA accredits such staggering rise to government’s initiative to increase infrastructure and facilitate citizens to have technological tools and services at low prices. Till now, country’s coverage of 4G LTE internet stands at 94.2% and can serve up to 96.6% of the population, which is among the best ratio in the continent.
In price terms, the country is the cheapest charger of 1GB Mobile Internet in Africa. According to Cable.co.uk, a Broadband, TV and Mobile Phone Price Comparison Site, Rwanda charges its citizens an average of $0.56 (Rwf500) per 1GB of mobile data. It is an incredibly low price compared to Burundi’s $2, Kenya’s $2.73, Uganda’s $4.69 and Tanzania’s $5.93.
India has the cheapest price of $0.26 while Zimbabwe’s eye watering $75.20 is the most expensive in the world.
Internet penetration relies heavily on the proceeding penetration of mobile phones. RURA’s report revealed that Rwandans owning a cell phone account to 9, 700, 609 which is 82.1% of the population, many of whom access internet through their phones, considering that less than 5% Rwandans own computer, according to EICV5 report.
Government’s appetite to facilitate Rwandans owning their cell phones seems to be pending even more, as Rwanda has already secured a deal with Chinese firm, Huajian Group, to establish their Kigali facility that will produce cheap phones for local and international markets. The industry will employ around 20,000 people and invest more than a billion US dollar in ten years to come starting this April, if everything clicks accordingly.
Internet provider companies have seized on this opportunity by rushing in to set their base in the country. Currently, 25 companies are registered as internet providers of which MTN Rwanda carves a big portion of the market share. Among 6.1 million users of internet in Rwanda, 3.4 million are MTN Rwanda subscribers. Airtel/Tigo owns 2.6 million while BSC Ltd has more than 10,000 subscribers. Remaining providers share the rest of the market.
Obviously, the country has greatly benefited from this high penetration of internet. Almost all basic services both by government and private entities can be found via internetin what is known as ‘Byikorere’ program. The platform helps citizens to serve themselves using internet and hence, reducing costs, time and procedures it would require to get certain services before. That being said,service sector has exploded to be the biggest contributor of 2018 national GDP, counting for 48% share.
The Express News