The role of Parliaments in setti

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					The role of Parliaments in setting
priorities: Rwanda perspective.


 by Sen. Gasamagera Wellars,
 Member of the Political and Good Governance Committee,
  Member of Rwanda Parliament ICT Steering Committee.
Background
• Africa development agenda faced with issues of
  governance and democracy, while also coping with
  developmental challenges and poverty reduction.
• Rwanda is confronted to structural problems:
   – low income and productivity,
   – low level of human resources development,
   – weak economy supported by low revenues and poor export
     base,
   – About 60% of the population lives below the poverty line
     (1$/day).
   – Consequences of Tutsi genocide in 1994 with more than a
     million dead, vulnerable citizens, destroyed infrastructure,
     substantial de-capitalization and reduced social capital
  Vision and Plan
• VISION 2020, a pragmatic agenda for Rwanda to
  become a middle income country by the year 2020.
  Seven goals:
      • Good political and economic governance;
      • Rural economy transformation;
      • Development of services;
      • Human resources development;
      • Development of the private sector and creating an enabling
        investment environment;
      • Regional and international economic integration and
      • Poverty reduction.”
• NICI PLAN II (2006-2010), a Rwanda national ICTs
  strategic plan developed and renewed every 5 years;
  a transformational tool to enable Rwanda’s
  reconstruction.
Tapping traditional values.
• Traditional institutions have been identified as a
  means promoting shared and internalized values :
   – Umuganda:Tradition of community work on public utility
     projects
   – Ubudehe:Tradition of community mutual assistance.
   – Gacaca:Tradition of communal conflict resolution, now very
     instrumental in settling cases of genocide crimes,
   – Umusanzu:Tradition of support for the needy and contribution
     to the achievement of common goals,
   – Imihigo:Tradition of vowing to attain community self-assigned
     targets, followed by celebrating collective success.
   – Kwinenga:Collective social audits/social accountability.
        Shared institutional responsibility
• In total independence, the three constitutional powers (Parliament,
  Judiciary and Government) develop strategies that encompass
  goals fixed in their respective missions within V2020 guidelines.
• The bicameral Parliament of Rwanda has a declared mission to
  legislate (including budgeting), citizen representation, to oversee
  government action and proper implementation of policies”.
• The Senate is particularly entrusted with monitoring respect of
  fundamental constitutional principles:
       • national unity, genocide ideology eradication, non discrimination, rule of law,
         equitable opportunities for all, human and other fundamental rights...
• Strategies: increased capacity for law making, thorough
  information for government oversight and the rule of law.
• In the exercise of institutional prerogatives, ICTs are highly
  instrumental.
National priorities setting
• Government of Rwanda recognized need for
  transformation to develop the country into an
  Information and Knowledge Economy (IKE), an economy
  in which the provision and delivery of services are to a
  large extent facilitated by ICT strategies.
• Despite its limited capacity, Rwanda took a proactive
  decision of allocating a sizeable proportion of its
  budget to ICTs development activities. Parliament
  makes sure this is respected.
• Parliament was among the first institutions to join
  momentum and engaged to be on top, through
  modernization of its services
Parliament network Diagram
      Challenges and opportunities
• Material resources (infrastructure and equipment) and
  financial means .
• Staffing: considerable shortages in skilled personnel; brain
  drain towards western world greener pastures.
• Self-tailored software development: context specificity,
  including local content; locally developed capacity, rather
  than replication of foreign generic solutions.
• Rwanda Parliament needs to solve particular technicalities,
  such as a highly interactive and dynamic website, handling
  Hansards into structured corpus, voice to text solutions and
  speech recognition technology.
• However, commendable assistance like open source facilities,
  partnerships saving time, energy and scarce finance.
• Unique language and a single culture facilitate IT applications
  and solutions with local language and content: LINUX
  operating system and soon Google. Regional projects:
  Kalisimbi air surveillance project, EASSy submarine cable...
   Today’s priority: strengthening achievements
   and building confidence and security
• Confidence and security are among the pillars of the
  information society.
• Different IT applications (e-government, e-democracy, e-
  commerce) use widening to different areas in the society: threats
  to information security.
• Reinforcement of the legal/regulatory framework and
  introduction of the security concept in sectoral strategies of all
  institutions.
• Adequate laws against cyber crimes and other practical
  technological security solutions.
• Creation and promotion of a security culture with security
  awareness, ethic- based responsibility, permanent risk
  assessment.
• Development of risk control methods and monitoring of an
  acceptable level of risk present in the organization.
      Conclusion
• Rwanda emerges from genocide and faces important socio-
  economic constraints :a vision is set by the country leadership
  and shared by the community, Vision 2020.
• It consists in transforming the country into a knowledge-based
  economy through ICTs deployment.
• Constraints: scarce resources, of which tackled priorities were HR
  capacity, ICT infrastructure and equipment. Single culture and
  language help introducing local content. Taking stock of
  integrating regional ICT projects.
• Widening use of ICT is raising a new priority: society of
  information confidence and security.
• Adequate laws and regulations to inspire community confidence
  and trust.
• Setting priorities entails prior environment scan. Room must be
  provided also for emergent strategies.

				
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posted:8/2/2010
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