President Paul Kagame has said that for Africa to participate meaningfully in the global economy, the continent must build homegrown scientific and technological capacity.
Kagame made the remarks at the launch of African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS), yesterday, at the Kigali Convention Centre.
The Rwandan campus also serves as the institution’s headquarters.
AIMS is a network of the continent’s centres of excellence in mathematics and sciences whose aim is to develop a pool of skilled mathematicians and scientists.
President Kagame said that, as the African continent seeks progress, there is no better investment in the future than in educating its young people.
Investment in the youth, he said, involves the creation of a workforce that will lead the transformation of the continent and can only be done through innovative scientific training and technical advances.
“We have to move ‘beyond potential’ and create a workforce that will lead this real transformation for Africa. It will only be done through innovative scientific training, technical advances and breakthrough discoveries. And there is not going to be a short cut,” Kagame said.
To create the right skillsets for the future, Rwanda is partnering with AIMS to ensure that capacity built reflects realities on the continent and addresses African challenges, the President noted.
“This is why we are pleased that AIMS is taking on this role. The capacity built right here on African soil will reflect realities on the continent and better answer our challenges,” he said.
Last year, the Government signed an agreement with AIMS to facilitate the institution’s operations in the country.
Under the deal, AIMS established its secretariat, global headquarters of the Next Einstein Forum (NEF), and is set to launch the Quantum Leap Africa research centre in the country.
Kagame said that investment by the two parties was aimed at creating a pool of professionals and researchers who will lead the continent’s development.
“To achieve this, we are collaborating to develop an ecosystem of pan-African institutions with a transformative agenda. As part of the ecosystem of transformation, the Next Einstein Forum continues to catalyse action, to translate these scientific advances into human benefit, and to showcase the progress that Africa is making in science,” he said.
The institution has established the first research centre in quantum sciences in Africa.
Kagame said the research centre would position Africa for maximum benefit in new areas of science.
“A new and important area of quantum information science and technology is emerging and is bound to drive the next global cycle of innovation and industrial growth. We must be positioned to obtain maximum benefit from this new area of science,” he said.
“In this regard, Rwanda will work with AIMS to establish Quantum Leap Africa, the first research centre in quantum sciences in Africa. This will be a world-class centre of scientific research and a leader in solving critical problems of development.”
The African Union, the President said, endorses the institution and recognises that its model is an important tool for the continent’s development.
“We must fully support these institutions so that they are sustainable and productive. The African Union has endorsed AIMS, and we all recognise that its education model is an important tool for development and progress on our continent,” the President said.
The Minister for Education, Dr Papias Malimba Musafiri, said the objectives of the institution were in line with the country’s policy to promote science, technology, engineering and mathematics to help build a knowledge based economy.
The institute’s founder, Neil Turok, said, in its operations, AIMS would strive to attract top talent and skills into the country to achieve desired objectives.
AIMS has campuses in South Africa, Senegal, Ghana, Cameroon and Tanzania.
Since its establishment in 2003, the institution has developed partnership with 15 African universities, and graduated over 1,200 students from more than 42 countries.