rwandaThe draft Information Communication Technology Bill is set to be tabled before the plenary session for deliberation and possible approval, after a lengthy period of scrutiny by a parliamentary committee.

The Bill provides inclusive legal, regulatory and institutional structure that will allow the country to adapt to the global technology.

“It took us so long to adopt it because it was heavy. Most of the Bills we have examined are light, within a range of 35 articles, but the ICT Bill has about 450 articles, which required more time,” said MP Agnès Mukazibera, the chairperson of the parliamentary Committee on Science, Education, Culture and Youth.

There is no legal framework that governs the ICT sector, including the new development of technologies and international best practices.

A law enacted in 2001 regulates telecommunications networks and services, but it does not take into account the convergence of technologies and as well as address all legal issues relating to ICT.

The draft law is composed of ICT legal framework, electronic communication, information society, broadcasting and postal services.

Mukazibera said they have finished examining and aligning the draft Bill with other legislations.

“It will be tabled in plenary session between June and August and it is expected to go directly to the Head of State for approval,” she said.

The Bill, that was approved in 2010 by Cabinet, aims to harmonise with East African Community and Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa ICT laws and regulations. It will be line with International Telecommunication Union agenda.

The revised Bill is expected to enhance Rwanda’s position as a major player and hub for communication and multimedia information and content services in the region.

Claude K. Migisha, the general manager of kLab, said key issues such as giving a chance to local start-ups (ICT entrepreneurs) and encouraging the trust in local solutions should be addressed in the Bill.

“Promoting quality education especially encouraging the computer science education in our high learning institutions should be made a priority in the bill,” he said.

kLab, an open technology hub for IT entrepreneurs located at Telecom House in Kacyiru, provides a platform for developers, IT enthusiasts and interested parties opportunities to collaborate and innovate.

“As Rwanda moves ahead to compete globally in ICT development, the Bill should lay favourable ground for the country to achieve its technological development agenda,” said Sylivie Mukunde Mboyo, the director of ICT at the Kigali Institute of Science and Technology.

The Bill is expected to ensure the interests of consumers are protected, including cyber security, privacy, and protection from inappropriate content.

Credit: New Times