The Minister for Education, Prof Silas Lwakabamba, has urged Rwandans to come up with new ideas and do more research on the role of education in economic development.
He said this while awarding winners of the second phase of the Rwanda Innovation Endowment Fund (RIEF) competitions yesterday.
Prof. Lwakabamba also urged the youth to initiate projects that can grow into bigger businesses.
“All Rwandans, including the youth, should build confidence and initiate innovations for more sustainable projects,” Lwakabamba said.
From the 299 project proposals received in agriculture, ICT, manufacturing and energy, six winners were awarded after a three-step selection process that involved a series of workshops.
The winners were given between 1 and 13 million francs to kick-start their projects.
RIEF was created by the Ministry of Education in partnership with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (Uneca), with a goal to stimulate economic growth through research and development.
The first phase of the competition served as a pilot phase where 370 applications were received and only eight projects awarded with about $50,000.
Remy Twiringiyimana, the director of Research, Science and Development at the Ministry of Education, said the applications were collected from all districts after issuing alerts to applicants through different media.
“All competitors had good projects but only six managed to excel after field surveys and oral interviews involving experts from University of Rwanda’s College of Agriculture, Animal Sciences and Veterinary Medicine, and Rwanda Energy Group,” Twigiringiyimana said.
One of the winners, Parfait Niyongabo, urged Rwandans to seek funding for their business projects through such ventures.
“Such opportunities are the only way people with bright ideas can achieve their goals,” Niyongabo said.