Rwanda and Sweden have signed a SEK278.5m (about Rwf28b) deal aimed at supporting Rwanda’s education sector to produce skilled manpower required by the job market.
According to the Minister for Finance, Amb. Claver Gatete, the money will be used to finance research projects and developing of knowledge-based skills.
The grant that was channelled through the International Development Co-operation Agency (SIDA) will also be used for capacity building to help address the challenge of increasing demand for skills in the country.
“The programme supports Rwanda’s ambitions to develop into an innovative knowledge society and aims to increase the production and use of scientifically-based knowledge in contributing to sustainable development,” Gatete said during the deal signing ceremony in Kigali last week.
Gatete noted that the grant will also help create a conducive environment for post-graduate training at the University of Rwanda.
“It will also improve the quantity and quality of research and competence in policy-making as well as increase the number of graduate PhD and master’s degree holders in the country.”
Joakim Molander, the head of the International Development Co-operation Agency at the Swedish Embassy in Rwanda, said research will play a key role in the realisation of the country’s second Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy.
“Our goal is to help Rwanda establish a strong foundation for both social and economic development. And this can only be achieved through enhanced research and skills.”
Sweden, through SIDA has been supporting the country’s research and capacity building programmes since 2002.
Prof James McWha, the University of Rwanda vice-chancellor, said supporting the education system through research is vital for the country’s economic development.
“If you are going to have a more skilled labour force required by the market, then partnerships like this are the way to go.”
A total of 23 Rwandan students have graduated from Swedish universities with PhD degrees since the partnerships began, bringing the number of PhD holders in the country to 49 so far.