Rwanda’s partnering with India, witnessed in the signing of a five-year agreement on bilateral cooperation, should be squeezed of all advantage. The agreement is to see the partnership blossom in the fields of education, private sector development, science and technology, human resource training and environmental protection.
Trade is another sector where India is contributing greatly towards the general African landscape, rising from a gross of $5.5 billion in 2001-2002, to a heartening $18.5 billion in 2007. It is therefore significant that Rwanda should grab part of this trade relationship to better incomes through trade with India.
However, India is renowned for its down-to-earth, relevant and local technological advancement for its people. In fact, India boasts of having built its scientific and technological might basing on homegrown skills through local research; looking for solutions that are not only relevant but affordable for its skyrocketing population.
India shunned the developed world’s technology for its cost, and for the better, because now there is a booming artisan industry that handles production at a much more developed level than in many developing countries. For example looking at Rwanda’s potential industrial basics, India can provide food processing technologies; more advanced but localized improved methods of farming; cheap-to-run milling machines for multiple functions; the ceramics industry, to mention but a few.
It is one thing to sign cultural exchanges, but these exchanges should yield tangible fruits for Rwanda, because it needs all the skills that it can grab from a more developed country facing similar challenges in terms of pulling a not-so small population from the doldrums of poverty and under-development.
So when next Minister Mujawamariya goes shopping in India for higher institutions to send Rwandan students to, she should consider closely promoting scientific, technical and technological advancement so that Rwanda gets to benefit from India’s long and honoured research in those disciplines. India can help Rwanda achieve the Millennium Development Goals much faster than we might care to think, if it provides the fishing lines and skill, and not the fish as is the case for Africa and the developed world.Ends