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Wired future for Rwanda soon

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The Vision 2020 project in Rwanda aims to rapidly transform a depressed agricultural economy into one driven by ICT.

If it works, the percentage of Rwanda's workforce involved in farming will drop by 40 per cent in 15 years. By then the country might become the regional ICT hub. The government officials insist that not only is their plan viable, but that there is no alternative. When the ICT plan was launched in 2000 only one school in the country had a computer, less than 100,000 people had mobile or fixed-line phones. At present half of the 2,300 primary schools have at least one computer, more than 300,000 people have mobiles. There are 30 Internet cafes in main cities and there will be 30 more in even the most remote rural areas by 2007. The Kigali Institute for Science and Technology (Kist), established in 1997 at a former army barracks, has already graduated close to 2,000 students. The home of the senate is being turned into an 'ICT park' for hi-tech companies that will receive free rent and utilities.

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