• Wed. Jun 19th, 2024

Digital innovation for sustainable development


May 22, 2024

BUJUMBURA, May 21st (ABP) – On Thursday 16 May 2024, in Bujumbura, the Minister of Communication, Information Technology and the Media, Léocadie Ndacayisaba, opened the activities leading up to the celebration of World Telecommunication and Information Society Day, which is held every year on 17 May.

In her speech, Ms Ndacayisaba said that entrepreneurs in the ICT sector play a decisive role in sustainable and inclusive economic growth.

With a view to remedying Burundi’s shortfall in universal access to telecommunications and ICT services, the minister in charge of ICTs said that the government was investing in projects including the provision of attractive services in rural and isolated areas, digital transformation through the roll-out of basic infrastructure throughout the country, and the adaptation of the legal framework to current realities. All of this, she insisted, with the aim of modernising and structurally transforming the economy.

Ms Ndacayisaba took the opportunity to invite strategic and operational partners to invest in the provision of telecommunications and ICT services, and to make their contribution to bringing “the population out of isolation”. For the minister in charge of ICTs, “contributing to digital innovation also means taking into account the gender issue in digital technology by encouraging girls to become digital entrepreneurs”.

The Director General of the Telecommunications Regulation and Control Agency (ARCT), Samuel Muhizi, pointed out that there are still people in Burundi who have not yet benefited from the advantages of connectivity. According to data provided by ARCT, more than 3,000,000 people are connected to the internet, compared with less than 1,000,000 in 2018, while more than half of Burundians have a mobile phone.

                                                                              View of participants

Speaking on behalf of the Federal Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Burundi (CFCIB), Denis Nshimirimana pointed out that the sector faces a number of challenges. He cited in particular the heavy taxes and charges, the absence of a law on electronic transactions, and the fairly difficult approval procedures. Fuel shortages, lack of foreign currency and financing are also among the concerns facing the CFCIB.

Despite this gloomy situation, Mr Nshimirimana noted that the government has placed the development of ICTs at the heart of its action. He gave the example of the digitalisation of the services offered by the OBR and the migration services. As far as the CFCIB is concerned, Mr Nshimirimana said that the problem had been taken seriously, adding that the Chamber had joined Trade Mark Africa, the regional market of the East African Community. This is an ICT-based market in which Burundi has an ISOKO digital platform. This market includes Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya. A panel discussion on the theme of the day, “Digital innovation for sustainable development”, was also organised. The event was attended by the Minister for ICTs, ARCT and mobile phone operators. “