Rwanda, Google enter partnership to accelerate digital transformation

On 18 November 2021 at 11:22

The Government of Rwanda, led by the Ministry of ICT and Innovation, has partnered with Google to accelerate the country’s digital transformation. This initiative is in line with Rwanda’s ambition to drive inclusive economic development leveraging technology.

Google is an American multinational technology company that specializes in Internet-related services and products, which include online advertising technologies, a search engine, cloud computing, software, and hardware among others.

Rwanda’s vibrant economy is an ideal launch pad for future innovation in Africa, with focus in four key areas: affordable and universal access to connectivity; adoption of digital platforms; Digital Skilling for All; and fostering a pan-African innovation ecosystem.

According to a joint statement, Rwanda-Google collaboration is one of several initiatives to advance the above key areas. It will also include support for a progressive policy framework and contribute to an open digital payment ecosystem through the Mojaloop platform.

Initially, the partnership aims to support a Training of Trainers (ToT) pilot for Rwanda’s Digital Ambassadors, a national program to increase digital literacy among Rwanda citizens by recruiting digitally-savvy youth to deliver digital literacy training; upskill 500 developers through Google’s developer training and community support programs and pilot a fintech incubation program for early stage fintech companies, starting with 15 companies in collaboration with Kigali Innovation City, and delivered by a Google for Startups partner.

Among others, the partnership will see Rwanda and Goodle workign together to accelerate e-commerce growth by supporting 3,000 Small and Medium Businesses to go online as well as equipping 1,000 iWorkers, bring Rwanda to the world through Google Street View by enhancing digital maps of key urban centres, digitise Rwanda’s cultural assets and provide access to heritage through digital storytelling in collaboration with the National Museums of Rwanda.

Rwanda’s Minister of ICT and Innovation, Paula Ingabire has said that the partnership complements existing efforts to drive digital transformation.

“We are pleased to launch this partnership with Google to complement existing efforts to drive digital inclusion, skilling and support the growth of the innovation ecosystem in Rwanda. Growing the digital economy is critical and will continue to drive Rwanda’s economic transformation in line with the country’s vision to become a knowledge-driven economy,” she noted.

Commenting on the development, Agnes Gathaiya, Google’s Country Director for Eastern Africa has explained that the collaboration with the Government of Rwanda is an important milestone ’after our CEO’s commitment to the continent to support Africa’s digital transformation’.

“This collaboration with the Government of Rwanda is an important milestone for us coming soon after our CEO’s commitment to the continent to support Africa’s digital transformation. We will help build a Digital Rwanda by up-skilling the youth, digitally accelerating small businesses, supporting start-ups and developers, improved maps and navigation, digitising Rwanda’s cultural heritage as well as supporting a progressive policy framework. We look forward to deepening our collaboration with the Government of Rwanda,” she said.

Google is expected to continue working with the Ministry of ICT and Innovation to increase its efforts to support Rwanda’s digital transformation.

Google seeks to organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. Through products and platforms like Search, Maps, Gmail, Android, Google Play, Chrome and YouTube, Google plays a meaningful role in the daily lives of billions of people and has become one of the most widely-known companies in the world. Google is a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc.

Agnes Gathaiya, Google's Country Director for Eastern Africa has said that the collaboration with the Government of Rwanda is an important milestone.
Google headquarters. JHVEPhoto via Getty Images