Sunday, 20 October 2013

Local govt leaders upbeat after inaugural video conference

n1Interaction between the central and local governments has been streamlined following the installation of optic fibre cable in all districts across the country.

This was witnessed on Wednesday when, for the first time, local government officials from all 30 districts flawlessly interacted with the Minister for Local Government via a video conferencing technology that streamed from all corners of the country.

Minister James Musoni chaired the meeting in Kigali.

According to the ministry, video conferencing will now be regular as government moves to save time and money spent on transport and accommodation of district officials during such meetings.

Speaking to The New Times yesterday, Jean Claude Mugabo, the director of ICT in the Ministry for Local Government said that the use of technology has proved to be very efficient and effective.

“On Wednesday we tested the application and realised that it was working well. Very soon, we are going to launch the facility formally and this will imply that mayors, governors and other local leaders will not be required to travel to Kigali for meetings with central government officials,” explained Mugabo.

He stated the whole process has been made easy by the fibre optic cable which is spread across the country.

The 3,000 kilometre optic cable connects 97 institutions within the City of Kigali and 220 outside the capital as well as all Rwanda’s borders posts.

It is one of the fastest-growing transmission mediums for new cable installations and upgrades, including backbone, horizontal, and desktop applications.

According to Mugabo, video conferencing makes meetings easier to arrange, overcoming some of the difficulties of getting local leaders from different places across the country to attend meetings in Kigali.

“We are going to conduct an assessment to ascertain how much money will be saved with the introduction of video conference meetings between local and central governments,” he noted.

Yvonne Mutakwasuku, the Mayor of Muhanga District, said that the use of technology has come in handy, adding that besides cutting costs, it also ensures participation of many officials.

“The meeting we held on Wednesday was a success. All the local leaders in my district attended the meeting unlike before when I travelled to Kigali alone,” she said.

Leandre Karekezi, the mayor of Gisagara District, also welcomed the move, saying that Rwanda is on the right track to become a regional ICT hub.

According to officials at the Ministry for Youth and ICT, government targets to extend the optic fibre cable to all the existing telecommunication masts to lay ground for Fourth Generation (4G) wireless broadband network.

To improve the state of broadband connectivity and speed, Rwanda in June penned an agreement with South Korea’s largest telecom company, Korea Telecom to deploy 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) broadband network across the country.

The government also plans to acquire technology that integrates the central and local governments, private sector and the citizens into an e-system.

The project dubbed, “e-Government Master Plan,” will be developed, basing on the current status of e-government initiatives in public institutions. It was launched last month.

In 2010, the government rolled out optic cable to boost access to various broadband services, including applications such as e-governance, e-banking, e-learning and e-health, to drive Rwanda’s ambition to achieve a middle-income status by 2017.

Last year, the Supreme Court commissioned a Video-Tele-Conference (VTC) facility to facilitate the effective and expeditious delivery of justice.

Local govt leaders upbeat after inaugural video conference


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