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by Bridget Boakye, at 10:00 am, June 20, 2018, Money Moves

Rwanda reserves $30 million to finance its most promising young innovators

President Kagame at the inauguration of Zipline’s first distribution center in Rwanda. Source: Facebook/Zipline International Inc

While some African countries are still stuck in turmoils, African tech darling, Rwanda, continues to make strides to propel its people into the future.

On Wednesday, June 13, 2018, the country launched its National Research and Innovation Fund that to provide funding to competent, innovative papers in the areas of Science and Technology.

According to local reports, Rwandan researchers, especially young innovators, have started submitting proposals for their innovative projects to get funding.

“The fund will 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,” the finance and economic planning ministry said.

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.

According to the country’s Prime Minister Édouard Ngirente, “the National Research and Innovation Fund launched today will serve as a major research funding vehicle through which Rwanda will support research and research-based innovation activities.”

“The rationale behind, is to address key needs and tap into identified opportunities towards national growth and competitiveness,” he explains.

This is not the first innovation and tech-focused investment the country has made. Rwanda’s government has been a huge proponent of science and technology innovations, sponsoring 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 is proof that governments in Africa can help spur innovation and economic growth through technology. 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’s $30 million (Rwf25 billion) allocation is a loan the Rwandan government received from the African Development Bank (AfDB) in March this year.

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