EDITORIAL: Local investors conspicuously absent in technological revolution

A participant asks a question during the Next Einstein Forum in Kigali. (File)

All Africa’sscientific roads this week led to Kigali and converged for the Next Einstein Forum, a scientific summit that brought together over 1,500 delegates, most of them young scientists from across the continent.

The forum was organised by the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) and the German Robert Bosch Stiftung Foundation.

When he officially launched the summit, President Kagame assured the gathering that it had the backing of African leaders and that the African Union was keen to throw its weight behind promoting science and technology.

The fact that the Next Einstein Forum was held in Kigali – AIMS’s regional headquarters and the Carnegie Mellon University Africa are also present here as well as several centres of excellence – is an indication of the country’s commitment to sciences and technology.

Girls have especially been encouraged to take up STEM (Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields that they hardly featured. Today, the tables have turned and girls are turning to STEM in hoards.

Many have taken advantage of possibilities and made strides in developing Apps or coming up with innovative discoveries, but unfortunately there is little interest from the local private sector.

If only foreigners see the benefits of investing in our local startups, then something is terribly wrong. The ICT ministry and other stakeholders, such as the Rwanda Development Board and the Private Sector Federation, need to sit down with technology developers to find solutions and market our local talents.

The world is embarking on the Fourth Industrial Revolution and local techies cannot afford to be left behind, but they will need all the help they can get.


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