Young African Revolutionizing the Public Transport System

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COURTESY OF NADEGE IMBABAZI

As young African boy, growing up in a neighboring nation at a time of civil war in his homeland can never be easy, but kids love to play and that was Patrick Nsenga Buchana’s passion, football (American soccer).  Twenty years later, Patrick opted to drop out of Kigali Institute of Science and Technology, now the University of Rwanda, College of Science and Technology, to concentrate on his newly formed company, AC Group, a software development company. His university specialty was focused on electronics and engineering.

In a continent riddled with war, famine, corruption and disease, infrastructure development has not always been a priority for most Governments. Rwanda, a nation emerging from a major tragic event needs to grow its economy while leading in healing, reconciliation and prosecution of the perpetrators on the genocide. The president, former rebel leader, Paul Kagame, while fighting frequent insurgencies has prioritized national development with key development indicators has been significant improvement on healthcare and education. The transportation infrastructure has also improved considerable with the assistance of the EU, China, Japan and other nations though only 9% of the 12,000km of roads is paved.

The public transport system has approximately 19 bus companies operating a total of 1,633 buses of various makes, models and sizes in various parts of Rwanda. The highest concentration is in Kigali city, the capital of Rwanda, where the system was disorganized , thus a need by AC Group to digitize fares for public transport as the bus operators suffering loss of income. The city’s largest operator, Kigali Bus Services, signed on to the Tap&Go solution, other industry players followed suit.

Tap&Go system utilizes consumers purchasing cards and loading them with cash to be utilized on card readers. A nation used to a cash system, consumers were at first deterred by the new system and in December 2015 about 500 had signed on. The number has since grown to 1.4 million cardholders in Rwanda and neighboring Cameroon as consumers started enjoying shorter commuting lines and a general sense of order. The system has also enabled the government to collect data essential on future policy development and planning. Bus operators who complained of 40% loss of revenue due to fraud, and reporting 25-30% increase in revenue.

With Africa recording the fastest growth rate in the world, the likely to contribute more than 50 % of the global population growth by 2050, it’s the fastest growing market. The needs for organized public transportation and transport infrastructure will be in more demand than the current strained system that has poor management. Tap&Go is a welcome improvement to this disorganization and since its development into Cameroon and looking to Zimbabwe and Côte d’Ivoire, Africa has hope.

It is another testament of what one can do to improvement one’s current conditions. In order to create change, one must first accept change is possible. Thanks to Tap&Go, it seems like change it on its way. #Rewordit

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