Yesterday, the government of Rwanda partnered with Korea Telecom (KT) to operate services in Rwanda based on advanced ICT infrastructure. This comes after Rwanda and KT signed a shareholders' agreement in June to deploy a high speed 4G LTE broadband network to cover 95 per cent of the population in three years.
Korea Telecom is expected to create significant computing power based on advanced computing and "cloud" services infrastructure enabling Rwanda to achieve a leapfrogging effect in the same way that the country is using 4G LTE to skip the 3G stage of broadband network evolution.
According Rwanda Development Board's CEO Clare Akamanzi, the KT deal will enable Rwandans to benefit from a large-scale transfer of know-how from KT expertise to develop a broad base of ICT skills as elaborated in the second economic development and poverty reduction strategy (EDPRS2) projected. "The company's work is expected to yield at least 700 highly skilled employees and stimulate the emergence and growth of a wide range of small medium-size enterprises (SMEs), either sub-contracting to the company or creating innovative applications to deploy as online services within the company's services infrastructure."
The deal was co-signed on behalf of the Government of Rwanda by Ms. Akamanzi and Mr. HJ Kim, President of Global & Enterprise, on behalf of KT Corporation, and ratified by the Minister of Youth and ICT Hon. Jean Philbert Nsengimana.
Minister Nsengimana commended the partnership saying, "This joint venture comes at the time when some targets of the EDPRS2 focusing on infrastructure are being given more importance to enable Rwanda to achieve the targets set to transform Rwanda into a modern, knowledge-based economy with middle income citizens."
Mr. Kim said the joint venture will contribute to developing the ICT industry, stimulating job creation, and promoting socio-economic development in Rwanda. "As for KT, this opportunity will help the company build a global ICT reference, and expand the Rwanda model to other African countries"
Experts and investors in ICT are optimistic that this rapid deployment of high-speed broadband capability in Rwanda will accelerate development of the country's ICT sector, create jobs, as well as help facilitate social and economic progress. Based on recent reports published by the International Telecommunications Union, 95 per cent broadband penetration will translate into a 10 to 13 per cent boost in GDP growth for Rwanda. KT and Rwanda will also seek opportunities to extend the business model to neighbouring countries.
The deal will see also KT providing a baseline cash injection of around $8 million. The government will invest in the form of assets.