While the high speed development of ICT raises ‘kick in teeth’ for users facing difficulties, the district of Rubavu embarks on finding strategies to increase a wide public awareness and usage.
Banking services now available via telephone or visa card, attestations issued by the state authorities acquired by Internet or telephone, declarations and payment of taxes being processed online, ordering and purchasing merchandise done via the Internet, to mention only those. It is obvious that life has become more electronic in Rubavu District. However, it leaves wondering if there are strategies to develop the parallelism between this explosion of ICT and the increase in the number of people who use it.
Fortunately, some unveil their inside. “We are asked to do everything through the Internet on our mobile phones, but it is difficult because we are not all capable,” says Aloys Kalima, a resident crossed over the market Of Mahoko in the sector of Kanama. He later on said that these new information and communication technologies benefit only those who know how to use them. And he surely shares this concern with two other people who were with him at a local shop where they were being assisted to request attestations of birth online.
For a lot of people, the use of phones is only limited to calls, as Janvier Ngabo, the secretary executive of Gikombe cell in Nyakiliba sector indicates. “It is difficult to ask people to process declaration of taxes or to request for attestations online and phones, whereas they are not even able to send a single message by their own mobile phones”, he says. For him, it is necessary to establish local training strategies to close this loophole.
The banks on site offer the facilities to their customers to do the banking by phones or visa cards. But the number of people who benefit increases are in counted drops. “The bank has taken steps to withhold money from customers who have visa cards but who make withdrawals by check,” said an agent of the bank on condition of anonymity who later on, unveiled that this decision was taken as a matter of awareness course of the use of ICT in banking.
Moreover, Jules Karangwa, a customer of the Bank of Kigali met in Gisenyi, reveals a concern worthy of attention. “They installed machines, but some customers do not know how to use them! “. He said, pointing out that these poor clients often use security guards to assist them in banking. “Under what security guarantee can we confide in these agents by giving them our passwords?” Desperately he asks. He suggests that banks should provide their competent agents who can assist clients, when needed.
Strategies on progress
Janvier Murenzi, the Deputy Mayor responsible for economic development in the district of Rubavu, insures that the district and its partners have undertaken appropriate strategies to bridge the gap.
“We’re using students on holidays, to help our people get on well with ICT,” he says. In addition, for Murenzi, Rubavu Youth is well on track to be able to help their parents to adjust and that explains the effort that the district is putting in training young people. “In partnership with MYICT in the project named KTRN, we have created a strong ICT center in Gisenyi, which trains at least 60 young people a day”. He believes that the trainings will help the district to address the gap.
Furthermore, he notes that banking institutions, companies like MTN, TIGO and Airtel, Rwanda Revenue Authority, Rwanda Online, and others have started awareness campaigns. “They are trying to train agents, and their clients to use ICT to access the services they offer,” he adds.
JB Karegeya &T Kaberuka