RE: “EAC officials say science, technology should be priority for the bloc” (The New Times, August 24).
Congratulations to the Rwandan government for their commitment to promoting science, technology and innovation.
This is best demonstrated through the creation of the science and technology commission, whose mandate includes, among others:
1. To advise the Government on science, technology and innovation. For example, on how best to address the current drought faced in Eastern Province. The problem could partly be alleviated through investment in research in drought resistant crop varieties suitable for Rwanda and coordination of research institutes and the Ministry of Agriculture (Minagri).
2. Collaboration with other relevant institutions on advising Government on human resource skills needed in science, technology and innovation (STI). This shows the need, for instance, to quickly identify crop engineers in my earlier example to work on drought resistant research crops in Rwanda.
This means agreeing with National University of Rwanda on investment in research, Minagri in testing of such varieties, and policy for safe research...
3. To ensure STI educated Diaspora Rwandans are placed in critical sectors in the country. The commission is to work with the Diaspora to identify such crop engineers who can be placed in the country to ensure the much needed intervention.
4. To identify new initiatives in STI that are needed in the country. Key to this is agriculture based research as the majority of Rwandans are in agriculture. The commission would also mobilise much needed funding and promote strategic partnerships in the area of research. Another needed intervention is reach on malaria and other preventable diseases.
5. To advise on the required research infrastructure in the country. This means a need to identify key research areas in line with national development goals, mobilising tertiary universities, including technical institutes, mobilising funding from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, and engaging concerned ministries in strengthening research ecosystem in the country that would help meet the country’s needs.
Also, we have young innovative minds in our schools and need to be encouraged to come up with solutions for local challenges. We can borrow a leaf from countries that regularly organize school science fairs that give young innovators a platform to showcase their innovations.
I have given the examples of research on drought resistant crops and malaria and other diseases.
6. To prepare and disseminate a report on the state of science and technology in the country. There is need to tap into technology to make the most of the investments the Government of Rwanda is making.
To the team at the commission, congratulations on the positive work and on partnering with East Africa Commission for Science and Technology in your work and we hope this partnership will bring in much needed impetus to STI in Rwanda.