Rwanda has strengthened its position as the technology leader in East Africa by unveiling a new generation of identity cards with an electronic chip.

President Paul Kagame, who has been a crusader of technology in Africa, presided over the launch ceremony at the National Identification (NID) headquarters in Kimihurura, Kigali.

Issuance of the new IDs started in the Nyarugenge area and will be followed by the Kicukiro and Gasabo districts of Kigali, said Eugene Barikana, local government secretary general.

By the time the parliamentary elections kick off in September, NID hopes most Rwandans will have received their new cards.

About 1.6 million cards are ready for distribution, while 5.3 million Rwandese have registered for the IDs. The government has spent US$18 million on the project.

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