Stakeholder collaboration in Rwanda’s digital transformation

A recap of Rwanda DPI and DPG Stakeholder Engagement Workshop

Monica Sumbi

Oct 25, 2023

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CyLab-Africa and the Upanzi Network, AfricaNenda, and Rwanda Information Society Authority (RISA) jointly hosted a digital public infrastructure (DPI) and digital public goods (DPG) stakeholder engagement workshop on September 27, 2023. This workshop, held at Carnegie Mellon University Africa, served as a catalyst for collaborative efforts aimed at advancing Rwanda’s digital transformation.

The event, themed the Rwanda DPG/DPI Stakeholder Engagement Workshop, brought together a diverse array of stakeholders within the sphere of DPIs and DPGs for a day dedicated to knowledge sharing, exploration, and potential collaboration.

Diverse participants, ranging from government representatives to tech innovators, and academia to industry experts, showcased the tapestry of expertise that Rwanda is investing in its digital growth. The workshop's agenda was designed to foster collaboration and knowledge dissemination.

The various sessions held during the workshop facilitated a deep dive into various facets of DPI, with the goal of uncovering the potential and challenges inherent in the digital transformation environment.

The primary objective of this workshop was to unify and empower stakeholders engaged in various DPIs and DPGs initiatives. Its central focus was to harmonize their efforts, mitigate duplication, and create a united front to propel Rwanda's digital journey.

"As life has been increasingly moving to cyberspace and data being the central component, it has become an imperative and a big challenge to protect personal data online. It demands an all-hands-on deck approach. We need to be steadfast in educating users on new technologies which require adapting new behaviors," says Assane Gueye, co-director of CyLab-Africa and the Upanzi Network.

One of the most promising outcomes of the workshop was the emergence of potential collaborative endeavors. By the workshop's conclusion, participants not only gained comprehensive insights into the various DPIs and DPGs initiatives unfolding in Rwanda but also explored opportunities for future partnerships. The exchange of ideas, experiences, and aspirations acted as a catalyst for redefining Rwanda's digital landscape.

"The deployment of DPG’s and DPI’s is not a destination; it’s a journey. A journey that seeks to identify and resolve gaps in our community through application of technologies which promote inclusivity, innovation, and socioeconomic development. Carnegie Mellon University Africa is making remarkable steps in this journey fueled by young students’ willingness to learn and experiment with DPG/DPIs as part of their practicum. Let us push the boundaries and turn knowledge into action," says Michael Mbuthia, regional director East Africa at AfricaNenda.

The organizers, CMU-Africa's Upanzi DPG Lab, RISA, and AfricaNenda, are committed to ignite further collaborations among the diverse entities working tirelessly to drive Rwanda into the digital age.

"In the heart of Rwanda's digital transformation lies a profound belief: that access to the digital realm is not a privilege, but a right. As we cultivate our nation's digital landscape, we're not just laying cables or building apps, we're crafting a future where every Rwandan is digitally empowered, connected, and included," says Innocent B. Muhizi, CEO of Rwanda Information Society.

As Rwanda's digital journey continues to evolve, these collaborative efforts will play a pivotal role in optimizing the nation's digital infrastructure.