The Ministry of Natural Resources and University of Rwanda (UR) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a long term research partnership that aims to enhance skills in the environment and natural resources sector.
According to Dr Vincent Biruta, the Minister for Natural Resources, there is need for research in order to come up with new concepts for refining policy making and implementation.
“We need to base on research to design policies. We also need to be challenged by academic staff who can equip our sector with knowledge. We are going to move to designing a roadmap of activities on the main areas of collaboration,” he said, singling out mining, meteorology, climate change, forestry, and land and water management.
“We hope the national climate and environment fund, will release facilitation for research,” he added.
The agreement will also cover training and capacity building in the sector. Workshops will be held with 50 researchers from the university to streamline the programme.
According to the Vice Chancellor of UR, Prof. James McWha, the partnership will contribute toward core issues that the ministry deals with.
“All vital areas for undertaking research must contribute to economic development. We will be guided on where there is a gap. These are, for instance, water, forestry, land, climate, mining, among others.
‘‘We are opening a mining school in September from which the sector will draw more researchers as long as we provide quality content. As it is a joint project, other graduates will also be updated on what is going on,” he said.
The mining sector has been facing several challenges, especially shortage of mining engineers, geologists, mineral economists, mining agreement lawyers, technicians and experienced miners to optimise the industry.
Prof. McWha added that other partnerships will also attract both international and national funding.
In March, this year, the Ministry of Education and IBM, the multinational corporation manufacturing computer hardware and software, signed a long-term agreement to improve research capabilities in institutions of higher learning, through proper use of modern technology.
The partnership is also expected to boost research on natural resources exploitation in Rwanda, whereby IBM agreed to work with university researchers.