Last week, Rwandas local government officials from all the 30 districts interacted with the Minister for Local Government and Social Affairs via a video conferencing technology that streamed across the country.
This was the inaugural central-local government meeting via video link technology, a platform that will now be the new way of conducting meetings between officials at different levels across the country. The first meeting was a success and local leaders hailed it as a milestone, saying it will spare them the burden of making trips to and from Kigali for meetings.
Interaction between the central and local governments is a crucial aspect in monitoring, coordination and fast-tracking of development programs.
Video conferencing, enabled by the availability of the ICT backbone in the form of the fiber optic cable in the country, is a breakaway from the traditional conference hall meetings, which are time consuming and expensive.
In the past it would require a lot of resources to organize such meetings in terms of hiring a conference venue, paying allowances for delegates from upcountry and booking them in hotels. This would cost the government millions of francs on organizing a single meeting.
With the new arrangement, however, government will save time and money it used to spend on such otherwise important meetings. Video conferencing will make meetings easier to arrange, overcoming some of the difficulties of getting local leaders from different places across the country to attend meetings in Kigali.
This approach is a step in the right direction and leaders at all levels should support and promote it. This initiative is the new way of conducting government business in the modern world. Other players, including the civil society, private sector and the academia should borrow a leaf.