The University of Rwanda in partnership with the African Centre of Excellence in Energy for Sustainable Development (ACE-ESD) have officially launched the Grid Innovation and Incubation Hub (GIIH) Week. The activities which were launched on January 31 will be held at Kigali Exhibition Village and entails an exhibition bringing together exhibitors in the area of clean energy, energy experts and different stakeholders from Rwanda and the rest of Africa. They will be discussing how to use the Rwanda’s innovation ecosystem to achieve the government’s objectives and the role of Rwanda’s universities in innovating to tackle national challenges, among other topics. While officiating the opening of the innovation week, the outgoing Minister of Infrastructure Claver Gatete said that energy is needed in everything from infrastructure to economic growth which is why it is crucial to find innovations that help the sector. He lauded the efforts of the students who exhibited their innovative projects that are providing solutions to sustaining more clean energy for the country. “We need new innovations and products that serve Rwandan communities, and projects that are likely going to be cost effective for their users, reducing biomass while scaling up communities especially in rural areas,” he said. “With stable clean energy we can be able to power our industries, homes and also use it in research” he added. Françoise Mutuyeyezu, Manager of Clean Energy Solutions Ltd, a company that deals with using solar energy to power irrigation systems, cooking stoves and refrigerators that use solar energy, among others. “We created this as a solution to many farmers, for instance farmers can be able to irrigate their crops using solar energy which is cheap, they can also use the solar refrigerator to preserve milk and be able to deliver it when it is still fresh which reduces post-harvest losses while keeping our environment clean,” she said. However, she highlighted that lack of proper guidance, research and limited funding for their innovations hinder proper uptake of these innovations, among others. Jean Marie Vianney Dushimiyimana, Project Manager of PV-GRID Power System which provides and installs solar energy in buildings said that the innovation week will give him an opportunity to woo potential investors that can help him take his business on the next level. Speaking at the event, Alexandre Lyambabaje, the University of Rwanda’s Vice Chancellor said that week will be dedicated to research and innovation and students will have a platform to interact with experts, and give insights on their ideas and how best they can be developed for the market and make an impact. “We have mentored, trained and actively helped them with their projects and this includes students from all the region because they have come to Rwanda to take courses in the engineering sector” he said. Currently the University of Rwanda is hosting the African incubation hub for clean energy, with students from the East African region and those from as far as Ethiopia, Cameroon, and Nigeria among others.