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Over 16,000 households to receive smartphones under Connect Rwanda campaign

By IGIHE
On 15 November 2021 at 08:00

The Ministry of ICT and Innovation (MINICT) in partnership with MTN Rwandacell PLC (MTN Rwanda) have resumed the distribution of smartphones under the #ConnectRwanda initiative.

Connect Rwanda challenge (online campaign) was initially launched by MTN in partnership with the Ministry of ICT and Innovation in December 2019 urging more institutions and individuals to join the race to connect Rwandans.

From 15th November to 3rd December 2021, MINICT and MTN Rwanda will be distributing 16,250 smartphones across all thirty districts in the country. one smartphone to one household per village amounting to a total of

This will commence with Gicumbi, Bugesera, Gatsibo, Nyabihu, Ngororero, Gisagara and Huye districts.

During the handover ceremony in Bugesera District, Mitwa Ng’ambi, MTN Rwanda Chief Executive Officer said: “Distributing one smartphone to one household in every village across the country in partnership with MINICT, brings us a step closer to achieving our ambitious goal of closing the digital divide in Rwanda. We are happy to see more pledges coming in, which goes to show that what started out as an idea has now grown into a movement.”

“I would like to thank all our partners that have journeyed with us thus far. We will continue with #ConnectRwanda 2.0, through which we will be collaborating with different players in the ICT sector, financing institutions and other device retailers and distributors to introduce sustainable financing models that will facilitate citizens to acquire smartphones,” said. Paula Ingabire, the Minister of ICT and Innovation.

#ConnectRwanda phase 1 was launched to create awareness across the country regarding the importance of smartphone ownership and curated a pledge program that saw a national multi-industry participation where over 44,000 smartphones were pledged and 24,973 were honoured. Out of these, 7,670 have been distributed to date.

Smartphones are playing a key role in covid-19 response in Rwanda, providing easy access to information of the pandemic, dissemination of directives and Covid-19 guidelines, among others.

Since inception, the program has majorly focused on different segments of the population; the unconnected, female farmers, Persons with disabilities, individuals in category 1 and 2 of ubudehe, and remote dwellers among others.

In Rwanda, smartphone ownership has been majorly hindered by device and internet costs on the local market. Therefore, to enable consumers, devices were powered with internet through working with Telecommunication companies to provide sufficient internet bundles. And #ConnectRwanda 2.0 will focus on sustainable device financing models.

Additionally, to address digital skills gap, the recipients are equipped with basic digital skills to utilize the smart phones and benefit from digital service through the Digital Ambassadors program. This effort also only succeeds with relevant useful content to the citizens, and as such, several Apps relevant to the different target groups such as healthcare workers were identified and pre-loaded on these devices, for efficient service access.

People who would like to contribute to #ConnectRwanda can do so by making a pledge on https://new.connectrwanda.rw/. The pledge can be honoured by physical delivery of smartphones at any of the MTN Rwanda Service Centres listed, or by payment via bank transfer or using MoMoPay code: 100100.

About Ministry of ICT and Innovation (MINICT)

MINICT’s mission is to address national priorities relating to economic growth and poverty reduction through development and coordination of national policies and programs related to information, technology, communication and innovation as well as citizen’s empowerment.

About MTN Rwanda

MTN Rwandacell PLC (MTN Rwanda) is the market leader in mobile telecommunications in Rwanda. Since 1998, we have continuously invested in expanding and modernising our footprint and are the country’s No 1 network. MTN Rwanda offers various innovative services to consumers and enterprises, including personalised voice, data, home and fixed connectivity solutions. The company is also the front runner in Mobile Financial Services in Rwanda delivered through its FinTech subsidiary, Mobile Money Rwanda Ltd.

Over 4000 smartphones have been distributed to households in seven district under #ConnectRwanda initiative on Monday 15th November 2021.

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