During the ICT4Ag Summit being held in Kigali, Rwanda, the Country’s Minister of Agriculture was asked how citizens in rural areas are to benefit from ICT development if their ICT literacy is very low.
The Minister, Dr. Agnes Kalibata, explained that there are other channels in place for those citizens to still receive information.
“There are definitely low levels of ICT literacy across the country, but the country has at least 65% mobile penetration in a typical Rwandan household. So people actually do have instruments to get information,” she said.
Kalibata added that to address that specific concern, the Rwandan government has developed a telephone hotline, accessible to people in rural areas, through which they can source much needed information.
“So how do we turn that into providing more information and reaching more people? We have a number of innovation centres where people in rural areas can go to get information and become more literate, and we developed a program where people can ask questions over the phone to get information. There are number of things they can use.”
Kalibata acknowledged that while there are some challenges in being able to reach these resources, the government is doing all it can.
“Yes, it is a process to teach women in rural areas how to use ICT, but we are getting there. With ICT you can develop services to connect farmers to learn from each other. The youth can help agriculture without farming the land, by developing solutions.”
Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor