Talks about new areas of cooperation began during a two-day visit to Rwanda by Zhuang Rongwen, the Chinese Minister responsible for Cybersecurity.
As he arrived in Rwanda on October 30th, Zhuang engaged in discussions with Prime Minister, Dr. Edouard Ngirente. The meeting was also attended by Rwanda’s Minister of ICT and Innovation, Ingabire Musoni Paula, and David Kanamugire, the Chief Executive Officer of Rwanda’s National Cyber Security Authority (NCSA).
The discussions between Rwandan officials and Minister Zhuang Rongwen revolved around deepening cooperation in the technology sector between the two nations.
China is already actively collaborating with the National Cyber Security Authority, particularly in providing training to Rwandans.
Minister Ingabire informed the press that the talks with China aimed to explore how both countries can further collaborate in various technological sectors, including the implementation of 5G networks. She emphasized, "We discussed in detail how to strengthen this relationship, not only in terms of training but also in research and development, especially regarding 5G."
The Minister also highlighted the necessity for Rwanda to have a 5G connection, underscoring the opportunities it presents, particularly in the medical sector. 5G technology is considered a significant advancement, offering connection speeds up to a hundred times faster than 4G.
She expressed that medical services are one of the areas where Rwanda sees outstanding potential for the adoption of 5G.
Following these initial discussions, the two nations agreed to establish working groups to oversee the implementation of agreements, with the prospect of signing partnerships in various sectors.
It’s worth noting that these discussions come shortly after Rwanda and SoftBank Corp announced that on September 24, 2023, they successfully tested SoftBank’s proprietary 5G communications payload in the stratosphere, installed on a solar-powered High Altitude Platform Station (HAPS) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) prototype in Rwandan airspace.
The demonstration, conducted for HAPS research purposes in Rwandan airspace by SoftBank and the Government of Rwanda, marked the world’s first publicly announced delivery of 5G connectivity from a HAPS UAV in the stratosphere.
The successful 5G connectivity demonstration followed a stratospheric flight test conducted in Rwanda in June 2023, during which the HAPS UAV prototype carried a mockup of the payload with similar weight and dimensions.
SoftBank’s stratosphere-ready communications payload continuously delivered 5G connectivity for approximately 73 minutes in the stratosphere at a maximum altitude of 16.9km and performed as expected in demanding atmospheric conditions.