“We are sitting on a gold mine” says Rwandan software developer
Citing the recent installation of a high-speed fiber network across the country and large data centres such as the one at Broadband Systems Corporation, a software developer from Rwanda believes the time is right for an increase in development of software programs and apps for the country and the continent.
“We are sitting on a gold mine. This is a big advantage for us. We have more than enough infrastructure but we haven’t even used 10% of it,” said Jean Niyotwagira, CEO of software development company TorQue Ltd.
The skills of software development has also been on the increase since kLab, the first IT lab of its kind in Rwanda, opened for people to learn more about software development and sharing ideas. “I can assert that we are growing and that there’s a promising future,” Niyotwagira added.
Niyotwagira developed an experimental Twitter-like social network called Twihute.com, as well as a search engine that indexes content exclusively in Kinyarwanda, Rwanda.
He got the idea for the website while attending a conference on broadband in Africa by Calestous Juma, professor of Practice of International Development and director of the Science, Technology and Globalization Project at Harvard Kennedy School.
“When it comes to technology, we Africans are just consumers – we don’t contribute. The conference had a great impact on me, it opened my eyes. It was that day that I saw that me too, I must be a contributor.”
But he is very excited about the future of software development in Rwanda. “Look at Rwanda, job creation is being encouraged almost every day, and innovative developers will soon achieve outstanding results. Software development is the only entrepreneurial field I’ve ever seen where you can build a successful company without much investment. It’s just you and your computer.”
“Without innovation, we’ll definitely be left behind,” he concluded.
Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor