Today, the Ministry of ICT and Innovation and HAPSMobile Inc. (“HAPSMobile”), a subsidiary of SoftBank Corp. (TOKYO: 9434) announced they signed a Memorandum of Understanding (“MoU”) on July 29, 2020 under which both parties will conduct a Joint Research Project (“JRP”) that studies the use of High Altitude Platform Stations (HAPS) to provide mobile Internet connectivity in Rwanda.
As part of the JRP, the parties plan to conduct demonstration flights using HAPSMobile’s solar powered unmanned aircraft system (UAS) in Rwanda to provide 4G/5G Internet connectivity. The results of the JRP will be used to guide discussions between HAPSMobile and MINICT on potential commercial services in Rwanda and other African countries.
Junichi Miyakawa, Representative Director & CTO of SoftBank Corp., and also President & CEO of HAPSMobile, commented:
“Our mission at HAPSMobile is to bridge the digital divide and revolutionize mobile networks by leveraging HAPS. So we are very pleased and encouraged that we can work with the Rwandan government, a leading technological power in Africa, to study how our HAPS solution can be used to reach remote communities and enable better access to information. We look forward to working with the Ministry of ICT and Innovation on this research project so we can study potential commercial applications in Rwanda, and beyond.”
Paula Ingabire, Minister of ICT and Innovation of the Republic of Rwanda, commented “We enthusiastically welcome HAPSMobile, a SoftBank Corp. subsidiary, to do business in Rwanda. This joint R&D project is well aligned with our government’s vision of becoming a Proof of Concept Nation and we commit to supporting it towards fruition. This project will contribute to Rwanda’s utmost goal to bridge the digital divide and increase digital inclusion, not only in Rwanda but also across our region.”
HAPSMobile Inc., a subsidiary of SoftBank Corp. and minority-owned by AeroVironment Inc. (NASDAQ: AVAV), plans and operates a High Altitude Platform Station (HAPS) business with the aim of bridging the world’s digital divide. HAPSMobile is primarily engaged in network equipment research and development for the HAPS business, construction of core networks, new business planning and activities for spectrum usage. AeroVironment, Inc. is HAPSMobile’s minority owner and aircraft development partner for its a solar-powered unmanned aircraft designed for stratospheric telecommunications platform systems that flies approximately 20kms above ground in the stratosphere. HAPSMobile has a strategic relationship with Loon, a subsidiary of Alphabet, the parent company of Google. For more information, please visit https://www.hapsmobile.com.
About the Ministry of ICT and Innovation, Republic of Rwanda
The mission of the Ministry of ICT and Innovation is to address Rwanda’s priorities for economic growth and poverty reduction through the development and coordination of national policies related to Information and Communication Technology policies.
"Si vous voulez que le Numérique s’installe dans un pays, il faut commencer par les enfants et les étudiants. Au Rwanda, nous avons commencé dans le secteur de l’éducation où toutes les écoles primaires, avec l’appui du gouvernement, mettent en place des smart class room dotés de lap tops." Madame Claudette Irere; Secrétaire Permanente, Ministère des TIC et de l’Innovation. Lire la suite.
On September 24, 2019 at 1803hrs Rwanda time, an H2-B rocket carrying Rwanda’s first satellite, RWASAT-1, was launched from the Tanegashima Space Center by the Japanese Aerospace and Exploration Agency (JAXA). The HTV-8 “Kounotori8”,acargoshipwhichstoresRWASAT-1wascapturedbytherobotic arm of the International Space Station (ISS) on September 28 at1313hrs.
A team of three Rwandans Engineers with support of engineers from the University of Tokyo has been working on developing the RWASAT-1 CubeSat in the Assembly, Integration and Testing (AIT).
After the deployment of RWASAT-1 into orbit on October 23 2019 from the Japanese KIBO module on the ISS, relevant stakeholders from the Rwandan Ministry of Agriculture will, via a remote ground station in Kigali, utilize data received from RWASAT-1 to make informed decisions in the prediction of crop yields as well as soil moisture monitoring and this will be achieved byRWASAT- 1’s antennas alongside the two multi-spectral cameras on board the satellite communicating with already deployed ground sensors inRwanda.
Remarking on the RWASAT-1 project, The Director General of the Rwanda Utilities and Regulatory Authority, Lt. Col Patrick NYIRISHEMA; “Lean satellite technologies are the future. Our goals as a nation is to meaningfully engage in shaping that future.”
The Ambassador of Japan to Rwanda, H.E Takayuki MIYASHITA says “As I leave Rwanda at the end of this week upon the completion of my assignment, I am extremely happy that RWASAT-1 has been launched into the space successfully during my term of office. It is indeed a delightful send-off gift for me.” says Ambassador MIYASHITA. He added that “Japan will continue to assistRwandainthedevelopmentofspacetechnology,especiallythetransferof theknow-howforthemanagementofsatelliteincludingregulationsandregional coordination.”
Commenting on the successful Launch of RWASAT-1, Minister of ICT and Innovation, Hon. Paula Ingabire says “When we started shaping and designing our national space program, we knew building capacities were going to be a foundation. We have been working with different partners specifically the government of Japan and the University of Tokyo. This is the beginning of the broader space program Rwanda has ventured in and we are delighted for the successful launch of RWASAT-1. It is another step made by Government of Rwanda in developing Rwanda’s Space Program.”
MinisterIngabirecommendsthepartnershipwiththeGovernmentofJapanand the University of Tokyo and affirms that the Government of Rwanda looks forwardtoastrongerpartnershipinbuildingcapacityinspacetechnologieswith the Government ofJapan.
KIGALI, 24 Feb 2019
This Sunday, 24 February 2019 147 students from King David Academy were graduated in ICDL modules. The students were certified in modules that have given them skills that helped them know how to operate on a computer. Having ICDL skills, prepares young people for their further studies and for entering the work force after their education.
During the event that was held on Visitation day, parents and guardians of students were present as well as representatives from different institutions like MINICT, UTB and ICDL Africa which also presented certificates to candidates.
The students’ representative from King David Academy said that, they have learnt a lot from ICDL training. They have confidence that wherever they will take that certificate, it will be recognised and that it is a great value added to their formal education.
Ms Solange Umulisa, the Regional Manager called upon all students to join ICDL and contribute to the country’s vision of becoming a knowledge-based economy. Over the past 4 years, ICDL has built a network of Accredited Test centres
Annet Mutamuliza, the director of King David Academy thanked the government of Rwanda for the infrastructure it has set in place for the citizens to benefit from and was delighted for the opportunity that was extended to King David students to be able to certify in ICDL modules an international Digital Certification.
Mr Lambert Ntagwabira, Senior technologist in charge of capacity and skills development in the Ministry of ICT and Innovation (MINICT) lauded King David Academy efforts in benchmarking their students’ skills to international standard by adopting ICDL to be part of their curriculum, and he added this initiative is aligned with Digital talent policy’s recommendation of introducing digital skills training centers in schools.
King David Academy’s mission is to inspire a passion for learning, personal integrity, the pursuit of excellence, and social responsibility in each student.
ICDL is the world's leading computer skills certification. To date, it has more than 14 million people engaged with the ICDL programme, in over 100 countries, through its network of over 24,000 ICDL Accredited Test Centres (ATCs).
The ICDL programme defines the skills and competencies necessary to use a computer and common computer applications. It offers a wide range of modules including Computer Essentials, Word Processing and IT Security. In Rwanda, ICDL has 10 Accredited Test Centres (ATCs).
Kigali, Rwanda, Friday 9th November 2018: Smart Africa has today officially launched the Transform Africa Summit 2019 preparations at Serena Hotel, Kigali. Since Rwanda is the host country of the Summit, the Guest of Honor was Honorable Paula Ingabire, Minister of ICT and Innovation who was ably represented by the PS, Claudette Irere. The kick-off event was hosted by Dr. Hamadoun Touré, Executive Director of Smart Africa.
Asthe Smart Africa flagship event, Transform Africa Summit is the annual leading African Summit bringing together global and regional leaders from government, business and international organizations to collaborate on new ways of shaping, accelerating and sustaining Africa’s on-going digital revolution.
The Transform Africa Summit has been held four times to date, attracting over 15,000 delegates from over 100 countries. The Summit has been held in Kigali, Rwanda, under the following themes:
1. Transform Africa Summit 2013: The Future delivered today.
2. Transform Africa Summit 2015: Accelerating Digital Innovation.
3. Transform Africa Summit 2017: Smart Cities. Fast Forward.
4. Transform Africa Summit 2018: Accelerating Africa’s Single Digital Market.
Following four successful editions, the fifth summit will take place in Kigali, Rwanda, from 7 - 10 May 2019 under the theme “Boosting Africa’s Digital Economy” and will take the following format:
- 7th May: Transform Africa Economic Forum
- 8th and 9th May: Transform Africa Summit
- 10th May: Transform Africa Golf Tournament
The 2019 Summit will discuss practical ways to advance the commitments of transforming Africa into a fully digitized economy where technology is harnessed to fully reap the benefits of Pan-African integration efforts.
Speaking at the launch Dr. Hamadoun Toure stated that “The theme will bring to the fore the rapid transformations our continent is going through under the enabling influence of ICT. As the world embraces the 4th industrial revolution, we have seen Africa leading in some of the most advanced applications. Our founding member State Kenya gave mPesa to the world. Today, more than 3 billion people globally use mobile phones to send and receive money, pay bills, and even save and borrow. Rwanda was the world’s first country to use drones to deliver blood and other lifesaving supplies. Similarly, we are seeing Internet of things, robotics, artificial intelligence, data analytics coming to transform agriculture, healthcare, commerce, and even Government service delivery.”
PS Claudette Irere noted that she got her first start as an intern at TAS2013 and this launched her career in the world of ICT. She encouraged all participants to partner with Smart Africa for TAS2019 and “be in the kitchen where all the action is”.
The objectives of TAS2019 are:
1. Showcasing the success stories in the African digital economy and promoting homegrown businesses/innovations /solutions/partnerships.
2. Mobilizing and securing commitments from key players that are ahead in the digital economy.
3. Launching a Smart Africa Digital Economy Mapping Report
About Smart Africa
Smart Africa is a bold and innovative commitment from African Heads of State and government to accelerate sustainable socio-economic development on the continent, ushering Africa into a knowledge economy through affordable access to Broadband and usage of Information and Communications Technologies.
Launched in 2013 by seven (7) African Heads of State, the Alliance has grown to 24 Member Countries and dozens of Private Sector and Academia members including Inmarsat, Ericsson, Econet Liquid, Huawei, CIB, MTN, Tata Communications Transformation Services, Microsoft, Orange, Facebook, Carnegie Mellon University Africa to name a few. Its founding members include the African Union Commission (AUC), the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), World Bank, African Development Bank (AfDB), UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), African Telecommunications Union (ATU), New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), the GSM Association (GSMA) and ICANN.
Kigali, 1st October 2018.
Rwanda Information Society Authority (RISA) in partnership with the Ministry of Information Technology and Communications (MITEC), National Industrial Research and Development Agency (NIRDA), with GIZ’s Digital Solutions for Sustainable Development Program (DSSD), awarded the best ICT solutions for Smart Cities in a competition dubbed Smart Kigali Challenge.
The competition aimed at encouraging the development and emergence of novel and innovative solutions to build smart cities and support cross-sectoral development objective.
Ten startup groups made of developers, scientists, academia, companies and individuals competed. The competitors had been in a boot camp from 28th September-1st October; receiving trainings on Design Thinking and help, to guide teams to identify solutions and develop prototype interventions (public sector, private sector, and/or hybrid solutions) to build smart cities.
On the final day, the teams pitched their solutions to a competent and diverse Jury. Three teams namely: Team SKYROCKET, Team BINARY EARTH and STES Group emerged winners and were awarded the seed funding grants of $3,000 and expert mentorship to develop their ideas into full prototypes over the course of 3 months.
“We prepared this competition as part of the Smart City Rwanda Masterplan implementation. We called upon Rwandan young innovators to develop solutions for smart cities. The top three solutions that won, will be facilitated further in partnership with other partners like GIZ so that they contribute to the digitization of services and easing citizens’ lives” urged Rene Kabalisa, Principal for Research and Development at Rwanda Information Society Authority, RISA.
‘The next step for the top three groups winners, is to be put in an incubation hub at a newly innovation hub “DigiCenter” to be inaugurated by the Ministry of Information, Technology and Communication, with GIZ’s support.” Stated Claudette Irere, the Director General at the Ministry of Information, Technology and Communication
Based on feedback from the joint Rwandan-German initiative ‘Moving Rwanda’, the government partners implemented the boot camp to support innovative digital ideas for Smart Cities. The boot camp’s intention is to be the first of many collaborative catalytic events to support digital innovation in Rwanda and the region.
A glimpse of the top three groups winners:
1. TEAM SKYROCKET: They have created a solution for the low income and middle classto have efficient environmental friendly and affordable cooking using gas or LPG. The solution aims at reducing the cost for the complete package of the gas including the cooking stove, cylinder etc. The platform will help to track the level of the gas, therefore send those data to gas suppliers for them to intervene in case of need. Another benefit is that the gas cylinder and cooking stove will be placed in the house, then the household pays as they consume, and be able to pay the amount of the gas they want to use.
2. STES GROUP: The system consists of an IoT (Internet of Things) device that is placed in the field to monitor the level of water and fertilizers to allow real time data collection, analysis and data dissemination. It mainly informs farmers how and when to apply agricultural inputs for better production.
3. BINARY EARTH GROUP: The system consists of placing cameras at the bus stations which track the number of passengers, in order to place enough vehicles at the concerned road. Additionally, the system will also monitor the traffic lights, so that whenever there is long queue of passengers, the traffic lights work mainly in favor of the concerned road.
Thursday, 8th August 2018: In a framework of the implementation of National Cyber Security Capacity Building Program and responding to the identified skills gap, the Ministry of Information, Technology and Communications (MITEC) and Rwanda Information Society Authority, RISA, in collaboration with Silensec, today, held the CyberStars of Rwanda Workshop.
Cyberstars is a competition targeting ICT students in Universities who undergo a monthly competition, pitching software solutions on domains of Ethical Hacking (attackers), Intrusion Detection and Security Monitoring (defenders), Computer Forensics (Responders) to come up with ICT solutions that will help the Government of Rwanda to protect its cyber space.
Today’s event brought together more than 400 ICT students from various universities in Rwanda aged between 18-24 years old. They were exposed to real activities related to cyber operations, such as ethical hacking (attacking), intrusion detection & security monitoring (defending) and computer forensics (responding) which will develop the need of doing research and practical hands on exercises to better respond to the Cyber Security need of the country.
Highlighting the importance of the cyberstars competition, Chief Executive Officer of RISA, Innocent Bagamba Muhizi, said: “From leaked passwords to identity theft, cyber security issues are always in the news. With this competition, we are creating awareness and building capacity by developing the next generation of cyber security experts who will ensure that as individuals, our businesses/data, our governments are operating in a secure cyber environment.”
The workshop aimed at educating the public and creating the next generation of cyber security professionals. It was also an occasion to set off the competition which will run for two months. The top three winners will compete at regional level.
The main purpose of this competition is to enhance national expertise in practical cybersecurity operations and reduction of the human capacity gap in cybersecurity field and leasing awareness.
“This competition is important to the government and the people of Rwanda as it helps create human capacity that will secure businesses and the country from cyber attacks. Through the competition and with the support of media, we shall be able to inform the public on basic steps to protect their cyber space whenever they use internet to socialize or transact businesses” emphasized Dr. Almerindo Grazian, the CEO of Silensec who has massive expertise in Information Security system.
Currently, the cyberstars competition operates within seven countries from the middle East (Oman, Soudi Arabia, Egypt, Irak, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen) where the campaign has been received well, and the finalists already awarded.
With this initiative, Rwanda is also the first country in East Africa and one of the few in the entire African continent to organize a national cybersecurity competition.