The East Africa Community (EAC) is set to launch the Eastern Africa Regional Digital Integration Project (EA-RDIP).
The EA-RDIP is a vital regional initiative that will transform and enhance the region’s integration into the digital economy.
The project aims to revolutionize the way the region connects, trades, and engages digitally by expanding broadband connectivity and improving the digital service environment.
It aligns with regional priorities, emphasizing the need to bridge the digital divide, reduce connectivity costs, and empower marginalized groups such as youth, persons with disabilities, and women.
The project’s development objective is to increase access to broadband and digital services, fostering the development and integration of digital markets in East Africa.
The internet remains the core facilitator for realizing these objectives.
EAC Principal ICT Officer, Eng. Daniel Murenzi disclosed this during the 10th Edition of the EA-IGF, convened in Kigali, Rwanda, under the theme, “The Internet We Want: Empowering All People in East Africa.”
The theme is in line with the overarching global Internet Governance Forum 2023 theme: The Internet We Want.
“The Eastern Africa Regional Digital Integration Project is in response to the discussions and recommendations of the 9th East Africa Internet Governance Forum and aims to drive digital market integration by expanding broadband connectivity and improving the digital service environment,” he said.
Murenzi emphasized the importance of ensuring that the internet continues to be a force for positive change in the region.
Rwanda’s Permanent Secretary, Ministry of ICT and Innovation, Mr. Yves Iradukunda, called for a multi-sectoral approach to ensure that the people of the region are empowered by the internet.
“To create the internet we want, we must ensure that it is accessible to all and that it is not too expensive. We must, therefore, work towards ensuring access to the internet is affordable by taking advantage of the power of competition,” said Mr Iradukunda.
The Permanent Secretary further called on ICT stakeholders to develop locally relevant content and applications for diverse sectors including education, healthcare, the environment, agriculture, and products that are useful to local communities.
Minister of State in Charge of East African Community, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Republic of Rwanda, Hon. Prof. Nshuti Manasseh reiterated the importance of the Internet Governance Forum for the region.
“Developments in the region can only be driven by digital frameworks and platforms, and they must not exclude anyone,” said Prof. Manasseh.
“As a continent, we have missed many revolutions; we cannot afford to miss the digital revolution.”
The Minister called on ICT experts and other stakeholders attending the forum to ensure that internet regulations and laws transcend national barriers and provide for a sustainable and safe digital sphere for all to use.
The E-IGF is jointly hosted by the East African Community and Rwanda Ministry of ICT and Innovation through the Rwanda Internet Community and Technology Alliance (RICTA).