The youth should play a greater role in the country’s economic growth by becoming more innovative especially in the field of industrial development.
Experts said this during the launch of Innovate for Industry Hackathon organised by the National Industrial Research and Development Agency (NIRDA) in collaboration with the Ministry of Trade and Industries on Friday.
The 3-day Hackathon brought together technologists, entrepreneurs, designers, hackers and innovators from all sectors.
This was in a move to enable a generation of industrial innovators to become competitive through technology monitoring, acquisition development and transfer as well as applied research.
The Hackathon will benefit over 100 young Innovators who were selected and grouped into 36 teams out of 100 individuals who were picked from about 400 young innovators who were seeking to create impact by translating scientific research into societal solutions.
Speaking during the launch of the Hackathon, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Trade and Industry Michael Sebera, said that Rwanda aims at reaching upper-middle income by 2035 and high income by 2050.
Therefore he added, this will require average annual growth of 10%, meaning that the current growth shall be doubled.
“This will require, among others, continuous investments in education and innovation, throughout the country.”
Adding that the Hackathon serves as the first activity to launch the STEM Lab Box, he added that the purpose of the Hackathon was to invent solutions of future industries, by leveraging technology to solve the current and prepare for the future challenges of industries and beyond.
During 3 days, the selectees will be mentored in order to fine-tune and shape their ideas then be turned into prototypes for a final pitch leading to a final selection.
Kampeta Sayinzoga, the director general at National Industrial Research and Development Agency (NIRDA) said the selected young innovators will be mentored by a variety of experts from both public and private institutions for the next three days. After which the best 6 teams will get different prizes, including cash.
Kampeta Sayinzoga, the director general at National Industrial Research and Development Agency (NIRDA) speaking at the event. / Courtesy
Speaking to Sunday Times, Sayinzoga highlighted that “It would be unfortunate for the winners staying dormant after winning the competition. We are looking forward to the innovators using the knowledge and prizes to develop their ideas”
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Country Director Stephen Rodrigues said Rwanda is a country whose political vision embraces technology and that young innovators should be committed to support the country’s vision.
“The young innovators should be resilient, have passion and commitment in whatever they are doing, when other people are sleeping, parting, you are working, you have to put your mind and your soul in what you are doing, you also need to think big, you are in the country where the leadership thinks big, don’t be people of small minds, think big,” Rodrigues urged the selectees.
Ernest Niyigena and colleagues Fred Rwema and Eraste Rurarera, the brains behind Teka Utuje, a project that seeks to teacch Gas Supply and Safety Management were also among the 36 selected teams.
“There has been many accidents around the poor usage of Gas cooking systems and we believe that through solving these two major problems, we could contribute to the safety of people and their houses” Niyigena told Sunday Times.