Japan, Rwanda to equip youth with ICT skills

All photos by Edwin Ashimwe.

A young enthusiastic duo, James Ndekezi and Israel Nishimwe, all finished their secondary school with a dream to venture into technology.

They had, as one of them shared, no solid background in ICT, however, they were passionate about tech-driven solutions.

Ndekezi said their passion was contextualized during an ICT capacity building project dubbed; “ICT human resource development project”.

A project that offered youth professional training opportunities such as Internet of Things (IoT), business oriented problem solving and leadership courses in order to drive national development.

It was the graduation ceremony of the third cohort to benefit from the project that also marked the end of the first phase, where a total of 45 young Rwandans benefited.

“Initially we were stranded and always thought that our tech-oriented project would fade due to lack of support, besides we had tried very many different places but our project was not supported,” Nishimwe said.

“Needless to say, September 2017, was like a dream come true, because we got admitted in the then starting ICT human resource development project”.

Brainstorming on their projects, competing to advance their course levels, learning from their friends, they said, opened their minds.

Today, Ndekezi and Nishimwe are the brains behind Kwaanda Lab, a local company that was founded to solve social issues using technology.

It deals in wireless power transfer, and aims at supplying electricity in an easier, faster, and affordable manner.

Ndekezi, emphasizes that thanks to the skills and capacity building obtained from the ICT project, it has seen their company sail among potential investors.

“The skills learnt have been helpful in terms of market and expansion of our company” Nishimwe said.

According to Antoine Sebera, Chief Innovation Officer at RISA, for Rwanda to become an innovation hub, more engineers will be needed, innovators among others.

“I commend the partnership between the two countries, Rwanda and Japan respectively. Rwanda can’t achieve its ambition of becoming an innovative hub without professional and skilled human resource,”

Sebera, urged the 45 successful candidates to effectively make use of the opportunity they were provided with.

The two-year project was organized by Kobe Institute of Computing (KIC), renowned graduate school in ICT development, in collaboration with the Private Sector Federation’s Rwanda ICT Chamber and the Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA).

Takayuki Miyashita, the Japanese Ambassador to Rwanda, emphasized that the youth should be the driving force of the nation, using their respective capabilities.

“I want to thank the government of Rwanda through the Ministry of ICT and Innovation for allowing Japan to work with them as we learn from the Rwandan young generation who have shown brilliant ideas, with innovative projects,” he noted.

He urged the youth to be the driving force of the nation, and given the various skills obtained, he said that they owe the government of Rwanda employment opportunities for the rest of the citizens.

For Shin Maruo, Country Representative of JICA in Rwanda, he challenged the graduating class to work towards contributing to the eco-system of their country, as he reminded them that the opportunity they got was special, and they should prove to the country that ICT human resource was a fruitful project to enhance their knowledge in technology.

“I hope that Rwanda will in future be benefiting from the seeds that you have sown today. Just to challenge, you ought to nurture everything learnt from this project and bear fruits to benefit the whole country” Maruo said.

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