Africa has witnessed a tremendous growth in its technological industry over the past decade. Several countries in the continent are doing their best to wipe off the impression that Africa as a continent lags behind in technology. Rwanda is one such perfect example of a nation that has shown absolute dedication to revolutionizing its technological industry. The fourth industrial revolution requires advancement in technology and Rwanda is seen among countries ready to challenge their status quo.
Located at the south of equator, Rwanda is a landlocked country known for its breathtaking scenery, often referred to as “le pays des mille collines” (French meaning for land of a thousand hills). Kigali boasts being the capital city of Rwanda.
According to an IMF report, Rwanda has an ambitious target to be a high-income country by 2050. The government has already kick-started almost all of its major strategies aimed towards realizing its set goal. Its efforts have not been futile as the Rwandese economy is seen scaling up at a rate that makes her be included in the list of fastest-growing economies in the world, and yet also be recognized as the “Singapore of Africa”.
Rwanda’s economy relies majorly on agriculture and to realize her set objectives the country has embarked on creating field for innovation and in-depth research on: sustainable energy; local production and value addition; food security and modern agriculture; digital services, products and lifestyles; life and health sciences ; resilient environment and natural resources.
Among the strategies, the Kigali Innovation City initiative is the missile that will spearhead Rwanda to achieve its goals. This initiative is the government’s flagship program propelling the country towards a high-tech ecosystem based on innovation and talent. The initiative is aimed at attracting: both local and foreign universities; technology companies; biotech firms; agricultural firms; healthcare firms; financial services providers; infrastructure, including commercial and retail real estate investments. The first phase of the initiative has witnessed a high success rate as key-intended players are streaming into the market for participation. Carnegie Melon University Africa – the only US research university in Africa offering full-time engineering masters degrees – was inaugurated by the KIC in 2019. Others who are already showing interest include Lee Pharmaceuticals and Cooper Pharma, biotech companies based in the US and India respectively, planning to open facilities at the KIC.
The Rwandan government is goal-oriented in that they already have a Ministry for Youth and ICT under Hon. Paula Ingabire. Their goals are based upon the future and for them to be successful, President Paul Kagame and his government have decided to involve youths, creating a Ministry for Youth and ICT. Under the ministry, Rwanda has seen progress in its universal communication coverage, pushing to heights of more than 95% coverage of the 4G network – the largest coverage in the continent. The government has also made it very accessible for investors to establish their projects, through the Rwandan Development Boards strategy, which ensures registration of companies in one day. This shows a government that has significantly transitioned from risk-averse techniques to taking risks. This will result in mutual benefit for both the government and investors – both local and foreign.
The 1994 Rwandan genocide is inarguably known for having caused massive emigration of many Rwandan natives. By addressing their challenges in this strategic manner, Rwanda will be in a position to attract back the diaspora and most significantly, the country has the potential to become Africa’s biggest tech hub in the next few years. Aren’t we seeing Rwanda become the next big resource for both technological and scientific research?
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