President Paul Kagame on Saturday, October 7, inaugurated IRCAD Africa, a research and training centre in Rwanda poised to train the continent’s next generation of medical professionals in minimally invasive surgery. Accompanied by First Lady Jeannette Kagame and Prof Jacques Marescaux, the founder of IRCAD France, the president said the centre located in Rwanda’s emerging ‘health city’ in Masaka would improve and take African talent to a higher level. “It has benefited Rwandans probably in a way you will never realise. Marescaux and others who work with you at IRCAD International and those who join you because they understand the cause and the vision you have, but more so the vision to use the tools to advance knowledge, technology and bring it to places where it is not expected,” Kagame said. ALSO READ: Africa’s modern surgical training centre opens in Rwanda The President said Africa often comes as an afterthought in global discussions and extended his gratitude to Marescaux for taking the risk associated with the continent, but which has turned out to be a high reward. Kagame promised the French surgeon that he would not be disappointed in choosing Rwanda as the gateway to Africa. “Even at a personal level, you will feel that what you invested in has had a huge effect in changing many people's lives through improved access to health,” he said. The President said that having minimally invasive surgery in Africa will change lives to a high degree. IRCAD Africa plans to train 500-1000 surgeons every year in minimally invasive surgery, a modern medical technology that minimises pain and trauma on patients, allowing for shorter periods spent in hospital, a lower risk of bleeding and infection and a speedy recovery. ALSO READ: Rwanda readies for first bio-med engineering hub IRCAD Africa, which employs artificial intelligence in research and training, will provide skills and knowledge of the next generation of surgeons across various specialties including in general surgery, urology, gynaecology, ear, nose and throat (ENT) surgery, neurosurgery, anaesthesiology, and orthopaedics. Marescaux said the centre will be a catalyst for all African surgeons and computer scientists. “The most important thing I have to confess is that this project was only made possible thanks to the vision of our President,” said Marescaux, who has Rwandan citizenship. “If it can be said that the most illustrious French politician of the 20th century was undoubtedly Charles De Gaulle, it cannot be seriously disputed that Paul Kagame is the most illustrious African Head of State,” said Marescaux, who calls Kagame “a providential man.” ALSO READ: Kagame, digestive cancer institute boss discuss partnership The facility, worth more than $32 million, features cutting-edge simulation technology, including virtual reality and augmented reality platforms, which allow surgeons to practice and refine their skills in a safe and controlled environment. It houses a fully equipped operating wet lab, complete with advanced surgical equipment, enabling hands-on training in real surgical scenarios. ALSO READ: How Kigali became Africa's top smart city The facility is part of a partnership of global research and training institute, IRCAD France, known for its expertise in laparoscopic surgery. IRCAD Africa becomes the fifth IRCAD centre in the world and the first fully-fledged medical facility in the 100-hectare Kigali Health City, which will also host Rwanda’s largest hospital, CHUK, a heart treatment centre, medical schools, pharmaceutical centres, and modern laboratories. Several African countries are in contact with the Rwandan government and IRCAD Africa to send their professionals for training at the centre.