SoftBank Corp. and Rwanda's Ministry of Education have formalized a collaboration focused on providing educational technology (EdTech) services to Rwandan educational institutions, emphasizing those without adequate telecommunications.
Why It Matters: This partnership represents an effort to expand the reach of digital education in Rwanda and exemplifies a growing trend of technology companies partnering with nations to address infrastructure gaps.
The Key Points
- The collaboration will utilize Non-Terrestrial Network (NTN) solutions, including satellite broadband services and Cyber University, Inc.'s "Cloud Campus" e-learning platform.
- 56.7% of Rwanda's educational institutions are connected to the Internet. This project aims to increase this percentage.
- The initiative aims to provide educators with high-quality educational content and tools, potentially benefiting both students and teachers.
- SoftBank, through its subsidiary HAPS Mobile, partnered with Rwanda's Ministry of ICT Innovation in July 2020 to explore 4G/5G connectivity using the High Altitude Platform Station (HAPS). They conducted a successful stratospheric flight test in June 2023.
The Big Picture: SoftBank is actively participating in Africa's digital development as part of a broader strategy, with this EdTech partnership being one component of their larger goal.
In addition, SoftBank's role in the Digital Platformer working group, launched in January 2022 as part of the Smart Africa alliance, suggests further regional collaboration.
Paula Ingabire, Rwanda's Minister of Information and Communication Technology and Innovation, noted that the partnership aligns with Rwanda's development goals and emphasized the importance of digital inclusivity in the country and across the African continent.