Rwanda’s mobile industry has joined forces with the GSMA to drive mobile internet adoption and increase digital literacy in the country.
Local operators Airtel and MTN will commence a programme of activity around digital inclusion as part of the GSMA’s We Care initiative in Rwanda. We Care is launched in collaboration with Rwanda’s Ministry of ICT and Innovation and the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA), supporting government efforts to boost ICT penetration and digital services across the country.
“I am glad to see the mobile operators, Airtel and MTN, coming together to work towards a common goal that will be beneficial to society,” said H.E Paula Ingabire, Minister of ICT & Innovation of Rwanda. “Smartphones are important ICT tools that can be used to access key digital services: education and information, healthcare, financial services, amongst others. Increasing digital inclusion in Rwanda will therefore go a long way in empowering our citizens and we are looking forward to a sustainable collaboration.”
Akinwale Goodluck, Head of Sub-Saharan Africa, GSMA, said: “Digital skills are a prerequisite for people to get online and enhance their lives through digital services. Through We Care, Airtel and MTN are taking significant steps to accelerate digital inclusion across the country.”
According to GSMA Intelligence, only about one in four citizens in Rwanda currently subscribe to mobile internet services; a lack of digital skills among the population and a perceived lack of locally relevant content are among the key barriers to large-scale adoption.
As part of the We Care initiative, Airtel and MTN will be using the GSMA’s Mobile Internet Skills Training Toolkit (MISTT) to train sales agents and educate customers on how to access mobile internet services. The MISTT is a visual, easy-to follow curriculum that helps trainers demonstrate the functionality and value of the internet on internet-enabled mobile phones. It includes modules on Wikipedia, Facebook, WhatsApp, YouTube and Google, as well as introductory modules on basics such as internet safety and costs.
Airtel and MTN Rwanda will train 10,000 sales agents in techniques to teach their combined customer base functional digital skills within the first year of the campaign, while the MISTT modules will be adapted to reflect local needs.
We Care was launched in Latin America in 2014 and is now running 25 campaigns across the region in collaboration with 55 local operators. In Africa, We Care initiatives are already live in Kenya and Côte d’Ivoire.