Rwanda and France sign new deal to improve digital public services and support innovations with high development potential


The deal follows a technical assistance mission delivered through the AU-EU D4D Hub project
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AU-EU D4D Hub project

In January 2023, the Government of Rwanda and the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) announced a new investment deal to modernise and harmonise network infrastructure of central and local administrations to improve the efficiency and capacity to provide digital public services. The same project will support the establishment of a geospatial hub, which will provide centralised geospatial data infrastructure and services, and the advancement of Rwanda's drone sector.

This new cooperation comes as a result of a feasibility study undertaken by AFD in 2022 as part of the African Union – European Union (AU-EU) Digital for Development (D4D) Hub, a European Union-funded project that aims to increase collaboration in the digital field between Africa and Europe.

Find below the official press release:

More public services to go digital after Rwanda and France sign a financing deal

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Dr Uzziel NDAGIJIMANA, Rwanda's Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, and Arthur Germond, Agence Française de Développement (AFD) Director in Rwanda, today signed a 37-million-euro loan and a 1.2 million euro grant for a project that aims to improve Rwanda's public services through digitization and support innovations with high development potential.

Under Priority Area three of Economic Transformation Pillar of the National Strategy for Transformation One (NST1), Rwanda aims to establish itself as a globally competitive knowledge-based economy including providing high standards, quality services and customer care across public and private sectors. Public services are still hampered by old local computer networks, and the potential for using geospatial data is still untapped. Moreover, after initial emblematic successes such as the use of drones to deliver blood bags to health centers, the government has expressed its desire to accelerate the development of the drone industry.

Government of France through AFD is supporting these priorities with a €37 million loan and a €1.2 million grant. This support will allow, starting from 2023, modernisation and harmonisation of network infrastructure of central and local administrations, in particular those having direct interactions with citizens (districts and sector offices, hospitals and other government agencies), with the aim of improving the efficiency and capacity to provide quality public services.

A Geospatial Hub (GeoHub), a centralized geospatial data infrastructure and services will also be set up and managed by the Rwanda Space Agency. It will help improve evidence-based development, planning, monitoring and evaluation of public policies in various fields (urban planning, response to natural disasters, health, agriculture, etc.).

Finally, AFD will support the drone sector, in which Rwanda has been a global pioneer by financing the construction of a centre of excellence as part of a Drone Operations Center (DOC), in Huye, Southern Province, which will be a place to test new-use cases for the industry. The DOC will be managed by a private company.

In parallel, AFD granted a €1.2M envelope to mobilize French expertise in the areas of the project.

The structuring of this ambitious project was made possible by the D4D Hub, a global digital cooperation of the European Union, which financed the feasibility studies.

"We are delighted with the signature of this new project, AFD's first financing in Rwanda in the digital sector! Because it will enable the delivery of quality public services in key institutions across the country, this

project will help reduce access gap between the capital and the rest of the country. It will also make the country more attractive and create economic opportunities in Huye district thanks to support for the drone industry," said Arthur Germond, AFD's Director in Rwanda.

Dr Uzziel Ndagijimana said: “The financing we just concluded today with AFD will support Government of Rwanda’s efforts to modernize the administrative network infrastructure, operationalize a Geospatial Center of Excellence and a Drone Operation Center with the objective of improving government’s efficiency and capacity to deliver services, unlocking drone private sector development, and supporting policy design, monitoring and evaluation across government. It will also support innovation and economic development based on geospatial and drone generated data-base.