Rwanda continues to establish itself as Africa’s fastest advancing country; by continuing to take bold steps to position its citizens to take advantage of future opportunities – while most other African countries continue to maintain the status quo that keeps them stuck.
Earlier this year, on June 13, 2018, Rwanda launched the National Research and Innovation Fund that would provide funding to competent and innovative papers in the Science and Technology sector.
The $30 million (Rwf25 billion) fund allocation is a loan the Rwandan government received from the African Development Bank (AfDB) in March this year, and as the finance ministry states, is to “provide equity financing for tech-enabled small and medium-size enterprises, train tech-oriented entrepreneurs in business planning and management, and increase awareness and sensitization with respect to intellectual property rights”.
Speaking at the launch, the country’s Prime Minister, Édouard Ngirente, stated that the National Research and Innovation Fund “will serve as a major research funding vehicle through which Rwanda will support research and research-based innovation activities.”
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“The rationale behind, is to address key needs and tap into identified opportunities towards national growth and competitiveness,” he further went on to explain.
Already, researchers and young innovators have begun submitting proposals for their projects to get funding, as local reports suggest.
Rwanda is proof that African governments can help spur innovation and economic growth through technology, as this is not the first innovation and tech-focused investment the country has made – having sponsored initiatives such as Youth Connekt and Ms Geek Africa, which brings about 200 girls from Africa to Rwanda’s capital Kigali for a tech pitch competition.
Rwanda’s government has been a huge proponent of science and technology innovation and these initiatives help support its agenda to achieve middle-income class by 2020.
“Under the leadership of H.E Paul Kagame, the President of the Republic, Rwanda will keep supporting research and technology with particular emphasis to link our young innovators with the labor market,” Prime Minister Ngirente says.
The fund will also provide institutional growth capital and deep business support in an effort to invest in and develop world-class innovative businesses in Rwanda and the wider East African region.
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