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Numérique Rwanda
Paper records and old computer networks in the health, education and environment sectors often make even the most basic transactions difficult and can prevent systems from operating efficiently. Digitizing records can allow access to important information at opposite ends of the country and facilitate access to crucial services. Rwanda's Minister of Finance and AFD's Director in Rwanda signed a 37-million-euro loan and a 1.2 million euro grant for a project that aims to improve Rwanda's public services through digitization, innovation and support.

Rwanda Rwanda has implemented many reforms over the past twenty years to improve its economic competitiveness, including in the provision of quality services and customer care in the public and private sectors, which is a priority of its National Transformation Strategy (2017-2024).

But infrastructure and energy needs remain significant. Public services are still hampered by old, local computer networks in different government offices, and the potential for using geospatial data is still untapped. 

Here too, progress has been made, not least in the use of drones for example, to deliver blood bags and pharmaceutical drugs. Now, the government wishes to accelerate the development of the drone industry in general. 

Further reading: Covid-19 in Rwanda: Delivering drugs by drone

Modernizing administrations

AFD is supporting these priorities through a €37 million loan and a €1.2 million grant. This support will allow, starting from 2023, to modernize and harmonize the network infrastructure of central and local administrations, in particular those having direct interactions with citizens (districts and sector offices, hospitals and other government agencies), with the aim of improving the efficiency of the Government of Rwanda and its capacity to provide quality public services. 

“The financing we just concluded today with AFD will allow us to improve government efficiency and capacity to deliver services to citizens, support policy design, monitoring and evaluation across government and support innovation and economic development based on geospatial and drone generated data-base,” said Dr Uzziel Ndagijimana, Rwanda's Minister of Finance. 

Investing in geospatial

A Geospatial Hub (GeoHub) will also be set up and managed by the Rwanda Space Agency. It will help improve evidence-based development, planning, monitoring and evaluation of public policies in various fields (including urban planning, response to natural disasters, health and agriculture). 

Read more: AFD Digital Energy Challenge: Innovation in the energy sector

Drones, a promising sector

AFD will support the drone sector, in which Rwanda has been a global pioneer by financing the construction of a center of excellence as part of a Drone Operations Center (DOC), in Huye in Southern Rwanda, which will be a place to test new uses  for the industry. The DOC will be managed by a private company.

"We are delighted with the signature of this new project, AFD's first financing in Rwanda in the digital sector,” said Arthur Germond, AFD's Director in Rwanda. “Because it will enable the delivery of quality public services in key institutions across the country, this project will help reduce the access gap between the capital and the rest of the country. It will also make the country more attractive and create economic opportunities in the Huye region thanks to support for the drone industry." 

In parallel, AFD granted a €1.2M envelope to mobilize French expertise for the project. The structuring of this ambitious project was made possible by the D4D Hub, a global digital cooperation with the European Union, which financed the feasibility studies.