The Rwanda innovation endowment fund a grand idea

What do you think is the most profound talk in town? Amateur opinion polls bluntly reveal that it is how to get better paying jobs for young and old graduates alike and how to own money- spinning chains of business.
Nyamosi Zachariah
Nyamosi Zachariah

What do you think is the most profound talk in town? Amateur opinion polls bluntly reveal that it is how to get better paying jobs for young and old graduates alike and how to own money- spinning chains of business.

The only barricade to achieving these momentous goals has been, according to a handful I have spoken to, inability to raise the enormous initial capital needed to jump start the business.

As a writer, I have to sniff for news. As many other writers, the antennae have to always be up and wide spread not to miss an ounce of the speckle of any news around.

By coincidence or design, I found a leaflet on my desk with information calling for people with innovative ideas to apply for funding of up to $50,000, which is approximately Frw 32,500,000 according to this week’s exchange rate.

The call for innovation comes in the wake of spiraling unemployment rates globally occasioned by economic slowdown and the effects of climate change among other factors.

The Rwanda Innovation Endowment Fund is an expedient response to forestall the effects of high unemployment rates as well as a move to challenge the elite to divert from ordinary thinking. In other words, the hefty price for the innovators is for those who can think outside the box, as it were, to trail on the track of first hand thinking.

As a result, new technologies will be introduced, more job opportunities created and transmute the competitiveness of Rwandans in production and service delivery.

The Ministry of Education and its partners like UN Rwanda and Economic Commission for Africa must be privy to the secret that few know. That there are titanic ideas out there that are decomposing in the increasingly pessimistic young population that can turn the economy around.

Government fiscal and monetary policies have been in the past touted as potential means of stimulating the job market but their impact cannot have a magnitude equal to that of nurturing innovation.

On the down side, the success of innovation is dogged by numerous challenges. Jean-Eric Aubert from the World Bank Institute highlights the dynamics of innovation in developing countries. He notes that the overall context in which innovation in developing countries takes place is dominated by two global drivers.  The first one is the intensification of the globalization process, spurred by the revolution in telecommunications.

 This globalisation manifests itself, among other things, by the importance of trade within the global economy.  It has also reduced significantly time and distance throughout the world, linking the most remote to the most vibrant areas. 

The second global driver is the intensive ongoing technological change stimulated by tremendous scientific advances made in the foundations of life, matter, energy and time.  As a consequence of both changes, a new development era is gradually taking shape, replacing the industrial era.

This new era presents the developing world with both challenges and opportunities. These challenges are accentuated by the fact that the development process requires more knowledge and entrepreneurial spirit to compete in an environment of intensified global competition.  The opportunities arise from the possibilities for modernization of traditional activities offered by new technologies. 

Innovation climates in developing countries are, by nature, problematic, characterised by poor business and governance conditions, low educational levels, and mediocre infrastructure. 

All in all, the ever reforming business environment in Rwanda and the unwavering government support will certainly play a key role in infusing innovation into the fledging economy.

 

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