Washington University joins major NIH effort to advance health data science in Africa

Washington University in St. Louis is joining a major international effort to advance data science, catalyze innovation and spur health discoveries across Africa. The program is supported by the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) Common Fund, which will invest nearly $75 million over five years to fund the Harnessing Data Science for Health Discovery and Innovation in Africa (DS-I Africa) program. 

Researchers at the School of Medicine are receiving one of 19 grant awards that will support data science research and training activities in Africa. The researchers will focus their efforts on developing new training programs in health data science in Rwanda. Faculty from the Brown School and the McKelvey School of Engineering also are involved in the initiative.

Led by co-principal investigators Victor Davila-Roman, MD, director of the Global Health Center at Washington University’s Institute for Public Health; and Philip R.O. Payne, PhD, director of Washington University’s Institute for Informatics, the investigators will collaborate with colleagues at the University of Rwanda and the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences, both in Kigali, Rwanda.

The project aims to develop a program that nurtures the development of trainees in research careers with a focus on urgent health-care issues in Rwanda, including the burden of infectious diseases, such as HIV, malaria and COVID-19, as well as chronic health conditions, including high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease. Applying the techniques of big data science to these issues will enable researchers to identify patterns in diseases and their prevalence in large populations and, based on these, help scientists develop new hypotheses to test with the goal of improving public health.

“Data science holds great potential for understanding the burden of disease across Africa,” said Davila-Roman, also a professor of medicine, of anesthesiology and of radiology. “But to make strides in tackling these diseases, we need highly trained data scientists in Africa, to gather and analyze large sets of health data across populations. Such analyses can then be used to guide interventions. We look forward to working with our colleagues in Rwanda and other sites within the DS-I Africa initiative to develop and implement exceptional training programs for students in Rwanda so they can learn these skills and gain valuable experience.”

The Global Health Center is joining with Washington University’s Institute for Informatics to develop the training programs and curricula that will go into the project.

“The major public health problems that we’re trying to tackle are global in nature — the COVID-19 pandemic alone demonstrates that these issues don’t care about geographic boundaries,” said Payne, also the Janet and Bernard Becker Professor, associate dean for health information and data science, and chief data scientist for the School of Medicine. “In order to tackle these huge problems, we have to be able to collect and analyze immense amounts of data. The NIH is making a substantial investment in creating a network of academic institutions and other groups in Africa and the U.S. that will launch important research and training programs so we can better organize and understand the health data that’s being generated. In addition, the program will help develop a workforce in Rwanda and across many other African countries that can carry this work forward.”

The training programs in Rwanda will build skills in health data science, and trainees in Rwanda will be able to choose among master’s and doctoral degree programs as well as postdoctoral training and faculty development. In-person and remote training options will include opportunities to build skills in applied mathematics, biostatistics, epidemiology, clinical informatics, analytics, computational biology, biomedical imaging, machine intelligence, computer science and engineering.

Mentoring and internship opportunities will help trainees harness their skills to tackle real world problems. They could, for example, apply data science concepts to medical and public health areas such as social determinants of health, climate change, food systems, infectious diseases, noncommunicable diseases, health surveillance, injuries, pediatrics and parasitology.

The NIH program in Africa has four components: a coordinating center at the University of Cape Town in South Africa; seven training centers, including the one led by Washington University; seven research hubs; and four centers focused on understanding the ethical, legal and social implications of data science research.

“This initiative has generated tremendous enthusiasm in all sectors of Africa’s biomedical research community,” said NIH Director Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD, in the NIH announcement. “Big data and artificial intelligence have the potential to transform the conduct of research across the continent, while investing in research training will help to support Africa’s future data science leaders and ensure sustainable progress in this promising field.”

In addition to the Common Fund (CF), the awards are being supported by the Fogarty International Center (FIC), the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the National Human Genome Research Institute, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB), the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the National Library of Medicine (NLM) and the NIH Office of Data Science Strategy. The initiative is being led by the CF, FIC, NIBIB, NIMH and NLM.

www.medicine.wustl.edu

Government of Rwanda and Google collaborate to accelerate digital transformation

The Government of Rwanda, led by the Ministry of ICT and Innovation, has partnered with Google to accelerate the country’s digital transformation. This initiative is in line with Rwanda’s ambition to drive inclusive economic development leveraging technology.

Rwanda’s vibrant economy is an ideal launch pad for future innovation in Africa, with focus in four key areas: affordable and universal access to connectivity; adoption of digital platforms; Digital Skilling for All; and fostering a pan-African innovation ecosystem. The Rwanda-Google collaboration is one of several initiatives to advance the above key areas. It will also include support for a progressive policy framework and contribute to an open digital payment ecosystem through the Mojaloop platform.

Initially, the partnership aims to:

  • Support a Training of Trainers (ToT) pilot for Rwanda’s Digital Ambassadors, a national program to increase digital literacy among Rwanda citizens by recruiting digitally-savvy youth to deliver digital literacy training
  • Upskill 500 developers through Google’s developer training and community support programs
  • Pilot a fintech incubation program for early stage fintech companies, starting with 15 companies in collaboration with Kigali Innovation City, and delivered by a Google for Startups partner
  • Accelerate e-commerce growth by supporting 3,000 Small and Medium Businesses to go online as well as equipping 1,000 iWorkers
  • Bring Rwanda to the world through Google Street View by enhancing digital maps of key urban centres
  • Digitise Rwanda’s cultural assets and provide access to heritage through digital storytelling in collaboration with the National Museums of Rwanda

“This collaboration with the Government of Rwanda is an important milestone for us coming soon after our CEO’s commitment to the continent to support Africa’s digital transformation. We will help build a Digital Rwanda by up-skilling the youth, digitally accelerating small businesses, supporting start-ups and developers, improved maps and navigation, digitising Rwanda’s cultural heritage as well as supporting a progressive policy framework. We look forward to deepening our collaboration with the Government of Rwanda,” Agnes Gathaiya, Country Director, Eastern Africa.

“We are pleased to launch this partnership with Google to complement existing efforts to drive digital inclusion, skilling and support the growth of the innovation ecosystem in Rwanda. Growing the digital economy is critical and will continue to drive Rwanda’s economic transformation in line with the country’s vision to become a knowledge-driven economy,” Paula Ingabire, Rwanda’s Minister of ICT and Innovation.

Google will continue to work with the Ministry of ICT and Innovation to increase its efforts to support Rwanda’s digital transformation.

www.minict.gov.rw

[Rwanda] Samsung Partners With Government To Equip Coding Academy

Samsung Electronics has announced a new partnership with the Government of Rwanda through the Ministry of ICT and the Ministry of Education to equip the Rwanda Coding Academy.

Samsung will be supporting the Rwanda Coding Academy by equipping a 30 seater innovation lab with its innovative technology in the form of 24 inch Samsung computer monitors, Keyboards and mouse’s, routers, an interactive e-board, state of the art air-conditioning for the lab as well as the server room and the cabling for the entire set-up. This will go towards equipping students from the academy with the latest knowledge in terms of coding and software development.

Speaking during the launch of this new partnership held at the Coding Academy located in Nyabihu District, Samsung’s Head of Corporate Affairs Mr. Shivanda said is looking forward to many years of partnership with the Rwanda Coding Academy.

“At Samsung we are really excited about this project because the potential is immeasurable, the impact on the community and the leaders of tomorrow is astonishing. It is a project that we are proud to be associated with and is the beginning of many many years of partnership”.

“Together for Tomorrow” is Samsung Electronics global CSR vision focused on enabling people through leveraging strategic, local partnerships and sharing its resources directly benefiting communities.

In East Africa Samsung has partnered with different organizations in Kenya and Ethiopia to execute similar projects with a focus on technology. The company will also be executing the same in other East African markets that they operate in.

This donation supports Rwanda’s Education Sector Strategic Plan 2018 – 2024. The plan seeks to ensure that TVET programs are responsive to both labor market needs and the social and economic development of Rwanda. More focus has been directed towards increased use of ICT in all TVET programs, which has contributed to the preparation of young people for the labour market by enhancing their employability and thereby providing a skilled workforce for the economy.

“We cannot build this country alone, we can only do it through strategic partnerships with socially responsible corporates like Samsung. The Rwanda Coding Academy was developed with the intention of equipping our students with skills that will propel them towards success in the future and with the support that we have received from Samsung today, we are definitely a step ahead” Ms. Claudette Irere, Rwanda’s Minister of State, ICT said.

The launch was also attended by the Vice-Chancellor, Rwanda Polytechnic, Dr. James Gashumba, as well as other leaders from the region.

www.samsung.com

Mastercard foundation, USIU-Africa, and ASU partner to strengthen e-learning capacity in Africa

The Mastercard Foundation, United States International University-Africa (USIU-Africa), and Arizona State University (ASU) announced the launch of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program e-Learning Initiative, which over the next five years, will enable more than 600,000 university students to successfully pursue their studies online, from anywhere across Africa.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced many universities, including those within the Scholars Program network, to suspend face-to-face classes and pivot to online learning. Building on what was learned during the disruption, this initiative will increase the investments that have already been made and strengthen the existing capacity of university partners to deliver high-quality, relevant, and inclusive e-learning courses. It will increase the number of young people accessing tertiary level education, particularly those living with disabilities, young women, refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs), and those living in rural areas. More than that, it will contribute to an e-learning community of practice in Africa, and beyond, that will enable collaborative learning and sharing of best practices and resources.

“This agreement will bolster our e-learning capacity-building alongside 10 other participating international universities and strengthen the Scholars Program partner universities to deliver high-quality and inclusive online instruction and provide virtual support to all students,” said Professor Freida Brown, Interim Vice Chancellor, USIU-Africa. “It will also support the development of a community of practice in e-learning.”

During the first phase of the program (2020 to 2022), 135 faculty and staff from across 10 partner institutions will be trained to design and deliver online courses, and an estimated 95,000 students will access online learning. In the second phase (2022 to 2025), the number of online learners will grow to more than 600,000 and the initiative will be scaled to include new partners and institutions that are not currently part of the Scholars Program network.

Arizona State University (ASU), a leader in the space of e-learning, will serve as Lead Trainer, providing foundational training to the faculty and staff and conducting a series of tiered leadership roundtables and learning sessions. As the Network Facilitator, USIU-Africa, which was one of the first institutions in East Africa to successfully transition 90 percent of its programming online, will contextualize the content for an African setting and facilitate engagement and learning across the network. The Mastercard Foundation Centre for Innovative Teaching and Learning will play a key role, hosting a shared Content Management System that will curate content from participating universities within the Partner network. The Centre will also provide support to those institutions interested in developing in-house e-learning resource centres.

“Arizona State University is bound not by geography, but by principles,” said ASU President Michael M. Crow.  “Our focus is on student success and embracing technology to expand not only the quality of learning but access to education and thus our embrace of digital education. We are eager to take our work to a new level as part of this collaboration with USIU-Africa and the Mastercard Foundation to build online learning systems in Africa that are resilient to future shocks and customized to meet the individual needs of learners, anywhere on the continent.”

The initiative is aligned with the Foundation’s Young Africa Works strategy and the vision for the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program to create a transformative network of young people and institutions driving inclusive and equitable socio-economic change in Africa. This initiative will connect young people to educational content that is relevant and context specific through a curriculum that reflects labour market realities, includes courses on transformative leadership and ethics, and prioritizes mental health and well-being. Students will successfully acquire knowledge and be able to fully engage with faculty and course work in a supportive online environment.

COVID-19 provided the impetus to rethink how we conceptualize and deliver education. “Digitally-enabled learning is the wave of the future,” said Philip Cotton, Director, Human Capital Development, Mastercard Foundation. “But for everyone to benefit from this trend, we have to act now to ensure that all young people – irrespective of their background or location— are able to access work-relevant training conveniently and affordably. A big part of that is strengthening the capacity of higher education institutions to deliver online learning.”

Since training began in July 2021, the 135 e-Learning Champions have commenced their learning journey by completing the two-week virtual Master Class for Teaching Online with ASU and have advanced to the next phase, which includes Specialized Coaching tracks in Instructional Design and Online Pedagogy with USIU-Africa.

The partners participating in the first phase of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program e-Learning initiative are:

  1. African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS)
  2. American University of Beirut
  3. Ashesi University
  4. EARTH University
  5. Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST)
  6. Makerere University
  7. United States International University-Africa
  8. University of Abomey-Calavi
  9. University of Gondar
  10. University of Rwanda

www.mastercardfdn.org

Mou signed to launch Huawei ICT academies in Rwanda as seeds for the future 2021 program is flagged off

Huawei, a leading global ICT Solutions provider has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with University of Rwanda and Rwanda polytechnic to officially become Huawei ICT Academies in Rwanda.

The ceremony that took place this afternoon at Ubumwe Grande Hotel also flagged-off the 2021 edition of the Seeds for the Future training Program that will happen virtually.

The Huawei ICT Academy is a Huawei-authorized project for industry-academy cooperation. It aims to provide students the latest ICT technologies and knowledge, as well as to develop professionals that can meet the requirements of customers and partners from Huawei’s industry chain. It is a non-commercial agreement between Huawei and universities, colleges that brings the latest professional certifications.

This partnership between Huawei, MINEDUC, MINICT and the universities of Rwanda is geared towards ICT talent development in Rwanda.

The ceremony was graced by the State Minister of Education Hon. Claudette Irere (Guest of Honor), the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of ICT and Innovation Mr. Iradukunda Yves, Economic and Commercial Counsellor, Mr. Wang Jiaxin and the Huawei Managing Director Yangshengwan.

PS of MINICT, Mr. Yves Iradukunda said that they are willing to work together with companies like Huawei that contribute towards the ICT development of the people of Rwanda. He also encouraged more institutions to join initiative like the Huawei ICT Academy that will quicken the teaching of new ICTs to the students in Rwanda.

The Hon. Claudette Irere noted a need to reform traditional teaching content in order for Rwanda to keep with the emerging cutting edge technologies in the world today such as 5G and A.I among others. She also expressed the need to have more certification programs to nurture the available ICT talent. “As new technologies such as A.I, 5G rise, there is a general need to reform existing one and focus on the new so that we keep up with the times. This starts by reforming traditional teaching content to guarantee that it relates to industry practices. To meet this need our education sector needs to work with private sector such as Huawei to train, skill and jointly develop courses needed by the industry”, She said.

“I believe those will take part will make Rwanda proud as you interact, participate and share knowledge with other students,” she said.

The State Minister called upon the students to use the seeds for the future program to create networks that will further their ambitions in life and also added that she is honored to flag off the 2021 seeds for the future program.

The Economic and Commercial Counsellor of the People’s Republic of China, Mr. Wang Jiaxin said that he has witnessed Huawei Rwanda’s seeds for the future program since 2018 till today and he appreciates such initiatives Huawei Rwanda is doing for the people of Rwanda. He also stated that such initiatives from Chinese companies in Rwanda till this year also mark a milestone of the 50 years relationship between the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of Rwanda. 

Huawei aims to establish more ICT Academies in Rwanda and with universities in order to skill more ICT talents of the country and contribute to the ICT talent pool. According to the Country Director Huawei Rwanda Mr. Toni Yangshengwan, the company looks to train and certify over 1000 students through Huawei’s various programs in the next two years.

“With the Huawei ICT academy in Rwanda, we aim to connect universities with industry to gain new insight into new technology trends, to open our doors for universities and students to access latest technologies and Huawei online learning resources and enhance student career competitiveness and employment rate among others. We shall train and certify more than 1000 Rwanda students and professionals in the coming years with our recognized ICT professional courses. So we request all universities in Rwanda to open doors for us,” he said.

The Huawei certification courses at associate, professional and expert level include; 5G, A.I, cloud, Wlan, Datacom and IOT among others.

The Seeds for the future program in Rwanda started in 2018 and over 15 Rwandan students have gone to Chine up to 2019. Since 2020, the program was moved online and since then the number of students tripled. This year’s online training program has attracted 30 students from majorly University of Rwanda, Rwanda Polytechnic and also a selection of students through MINICT from other institutions that are not yet Huawei ICT Academies.

This eight day virtual training consists of three hour pre-recorded courses and 13 hours of live stream in technology entry level and advanced sessions such as 5G, A.I and Cloud. The seeds for the future program shall cover hot topics of the tech industry such as cyber security and also give interactive visit sessions to the Huawei’s exhibition halls etc.

Mr. Tonni Yang Shengwan further encouraged the students to attend the virtual training fully for them to be able to graduate, acquire Huawei certification, goodies and internship opportunities.

www.minict.gov.rw

BK’s IKOFI re-launched with delivery of phones to coffee farmers

Bank of Kigali Plc has re-launched its IKOFI digital product alongside a partnership with RWACOF, a Rwandan-based coffee exporter working with more than 86,000 farmers to raise their farming methods. 

The partnership will see 11,000 telephones distributed to small holder coffee farmers,  facilitating them to use IKOFI wallet and boost their financial access through technology. 

The financial digitalization access move is in line with the bank’s strategy and overall commitment to digitize agriculture while providing convenient services to farmers in their day to day operations. 

“Through our partnership with RWACOF, Bank of Kigali will enable coffee farmers to embrace cashless means of payment because we believe in digital transformation for everybody including farmers. We are confident that the 11,000 telephones given to coffee farmers today will significantly improve their daily activities hence allowing them to adopt a more digital lifestyle,” noted Dr. Diane Karusisi Bank of Kigali’s Chief Executive Officer during her remarks. 

Unlike other wallets, IKOFI opens up a pathway to the banking ecosystem, as the farmers get access to financial services digitally and in the near future, their credit application requirements will be processed. 

Max Veglio, the Managing Director of RWACOF, appreciated BK’s efforts for opening up the doors for small holder coffee farmers to access financial services.

“We have realized, lack of access to technology as a key barrier to our growth as farmers, but BK’s initiative marks an important step in the journey, having accepted to scrap off the transfer charges during payments and ease the loan application requirements,” he observed.

In a bid to support farmers, the Bank has an already existing partnership with Smart Nkunganire System (SNS), through which farmers are enabled to easily pay for agro-inputs through IKOFI.

In the journey to digitise the coffee value chain, Bank of Kigali through Smart Kungahara System (SKS), a digital platform developed by BK Techouse in partnership with NAEB equips its stakeholders with the most indispensable tool to link all stakeholders involved in the value chain in Rwanda, thus enabling proper standardized data reporting.

On his part, Angelo Munezero, a representative from the Ministry of ICT and innovation commended BK’s initiative which is in line with the government’s ambitious plan to provide full financial access through technology to Rwandan citizens. 

Bank of Kigali through IKOFI integration with Smart Kungahara System (SKS) is expected to serve more than 300 coffee washing stations, with a target market size of more than 400,000 coffee farmers, hence driving the use of cashless payment in the coffee sector, ultimately speeding up the financial inclusion journey in coffee value chain. 

Currently, 1,767 agro dealers and 263,691 farmers are active IKOFI wallet users benefiting from the service by digitally paying for their agro-inputs through mobile phones, conveniently paying for other services such as Irembo, RRA, WASAC, all done through *334*2#. 

www.bk.rw

ESOA and Smart Africa partner to advance digital transformation in Africa

ESOA, the EMEA Satellite Operators Association and the Smart Africa Alliance (Smart Africa) are pleased to announce their partnership with a view to advance Africa’s digital transformation.

ESOA and Smart Africa will collaborate on digital transformation and innovation initiatives across the continent. The aim of the partnership is to achieve the goals on coverage and connectivity with satellite solutions across Africa in education, healthcare, research and development and other essential fields within Smart Africa Member States. The organisations will collaborate on common activities supporting the development of the space and satellite industry in Africa through sharing best practices in satellite regulation and implementation, showcasing successful use cases within Africa and leveraging the knowledge base on satellite services deployment in Africa.

Smart Africa is an alliance of 32 African countries, international organisations and global private sector players tasked with Africa’s digital agenda. With a vision to create a single digital market in Africa by 2030, the Smart Africa Alliance brings together Heads of State who seek to accelerate the digitalization of the continent and create a common market. Launched in 2013 by 7 African Heads of State, the Alliance now has 32 member countries, representing over 815 million people and over 40 Private Sector members committed to the vision and the advancement of Africa.

ESOA represents 22 global and regional satellite operators and is recognised as the representative body for satellite operators by international, regional, and national bodies including regulators, policymakers, standards-setting organisations such as 3GPP, the International Telecommunication Union and the World Economic Forum. ESOA works to foster a better understanding of the benefits of satellite communications for economies the world over and how favourable political, regulatory, and industrial frameworks can help policymakers leverage their strengths. ESOA leads the sector’s response to global challenges and opportunities. It offers a unified voice for the world’s largest operators, important regional operators and other companies that engage in satellite-related activities.

Mr Lacina Koné, Director General and CEO of Smart Africa commented: “The partnership will be a key milestone in driving thought-leadership for the satellite industry. We look forward to seeing mutually beneficial results for Smart Africa Member States in satellite communication arising from this partnership.”

Ms Holla-Maini, ESOA Secretary General noted: “Smart Africa is recognised for its leadership in Africa. We are looking forward to working in this partnership to make a tangible difference to the lives of African citizens and in turn to African economies.”

www.smartafrica.org

MTN Group announces new mobile money partnership with Flutterwave across Africa

MTN is pleased to announce a mobile money partnership with Africa’s leading payments technology company, Flutterwave. This partnership will allow businesses integrating Flutterwave in Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Rwanda, Uganda and Zambia to receive payments via MTN Mobile Money (MoMo). 

MTN MoMo is a fintech platform providing consumers and businesses with an electronic wallet, enabling electronic transfers and payments as well as access to digital and financial services. At the end of June 2021, MTN MoMo had 48.9 million active users and 581,514 merchants. MoMo enables businesses to accept and make payments within the mobile money ecosystem. This new partnership will enable Flutterwave to offer MTN Mobile Money as a payment method to its business customers.

In recent years, Africa has witnessed an explosion in mobile penetration as smartphone adoption has risen rapidly. According to the GSMA, this year Africa will hit the half a billion mark of unique mobile subscribers and the continent will reach 50% subscriber penetration by 2025. Sub-Saharan Africa alone is responsible for more than 45% of the world’s mobile money accounts with the number of account holders exceeding half a billion by 2020, as shared on Statista.

Through this partnership, MTN and Flutterwave will positively contribute to this trend by increasing mobile money usage and penetration in Africa to improve local economies and livelihoods as well as create opportunities for individuals and businesses across the continent.

Commenting on the partnership, Serigne Dioum, MTN Group Chief Digital and Fintech Officer said: “As we progress on our journey to becoming the largest fintech platform in Africa, we will empower millions of businesses to embrace e-commerce in our markets to accept digital payments from MoMo consumers. We believe this is an enabler to accelerating digitized payments in Africa. Building strong ecosystems through partnerships is central to our platform strategy and we will continue to invest in expanding the reach of our platform to consumers and businesses in Africa.”   

Commenting on the collaboration, Olugbenga “GB” Agboola, Founder and CEO of Flutterwave, said: “Africa has one of the highest growth rates for mobile money adoption and e-commerce in the world. It makes sense that we help provide a seamless payment method to support and ensure African businesses reap the full benefits of the e-commerce boom in the region. Our goal has always been to grow a new wave of prosperity in Africa by creating more avenues for businesses in Africa to accept payments. With this partnership, we can achieve this while creating endless possibilities for our customers.” 

The new partnership will further expand on Flutterwave’s previous collaboration with MTN, beyond Uganda and Rwanda – with the potential of deepening adoption of digital payments and e-commerce in Africa, a sector expected to reach $29 billion by 2022, according to Statista. 

www.mtn.com

Rwanda Coding Academy received Frw 7.1 billion support from Koica

The Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) signed the Record of Discussion (R/D) with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning and the Ministry of Education for the implementation of the Rwanda Coding Academy (RCA) Capacity Development Project worth US$ 7.1 million (approximately Frw 7.1 billion). The Government of Rwanda will provide the counterpart funding of US$ 800,000 for the project, making the total value of project US$ 7.9 million or approximately Frw 7.9 billion.

The signing ceremony was virtually held in observance of the current health measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and the R/D was signed by Dr. Uzziel NDAGIJIMANA, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Dr. Valentine UWAMARIYA, Minister of Education and Mr. CHON Gyong Shik, Country Director of KOICA Rwanda Office. 

“We thank the Government of the Republic of Korea for partnering with us in this important project to enhance software skills development in Rwanda. This support comes to support our National Strategy for Transformation Pillar, with a focus on making Rwanda a Globally Competitive Knowledge –based Economy”, Minister NDAGIJIMANA said

Minister Uwamariya noted that: “This project will make Rwanda Coding Academy a center of excellence in Software Development which will be providing our students with high quality practical skills as required by the software industry at both national and international level, and this will hugely contribute to the national aspiration of making our country a regional ICT hub”.

“KOICA has three priority sectors in Rwanda, agriculture, education, and ICT, and this project cuts across the two important sectors, education and ICT,” said Mr. CHON Gyong Shik, Country Director of KOICA Rwanda Office. “As the main development agency of the Korean government, through this project, we will contribute to the GoR’s education and economic development plans as well as the achievement of SDG 4.” 

RCA opened in 2019, benchmarking the model of Korea’s Software Meister High School, with the goal of developing competent software developers who can promote industrial and economic development of Rwanda. Since its birth, the school has accepted two intakes of students totaling to 118. The third intake is slated for September this year. 

With KOICA’s intervention, RCA will be equipped with high quality infrastructure and equipment as well as capacity to provide specialized education programs to students. It will ultimately benefit the students who are at the heart of RCA’s mission and contribute to the Sustainable Development Goal 4; Education for All. 

Since 1991, KOICA has been implementing its grant aid programs in Rwanda, disbursing about USD 150 million through various projects and capacity building programs. KOICA Rwanda Office was officially opened in 2011. KOICA currently has over 10 on-going projects in Rwanda in education, agriculture and ICT sectors. With the outbreak of COVID-19, KOICA also supported Government in response to the pandemic by providing a mobile testing vehicle, walk-through testing booths and personal protective equipment (PPE) worth about USD 1 million.

www.minecofin.gov.rw

eLearning Africa returns to Kigali with the theme of ‘A New Purpose for Education’

The Convention Centre in Kigali will be the setting for the next edition of Africa’s leading conference and exhibition on technology-assisted learning, bringing political leaders, investors and some of the world’s leading experts on education and technology to the Rwandan capital for three days of talks, workshops and a ministerial roundtable.

eLearning Africa’s founder and CEO, Rebecca Stromeyer, said that she hoped the conference would help to establish “a new purpose for education” by facilitating in-depth discussions on “what the world will be like after Covid.”

“The pandemic has brought about many changes, some of which will be permanent,” she said. “Now we need a real focus on adaptability, resilience and sustainability in education. And we need an African agenda – not just for Africa itself, but because Africa has so much to teach the world.

“African experience and traditions, such as ‘ubuntu’, will enjoy a new relevance. Equally, African ideas of community and partnership with nature could soon mean that Africa is increasingly recognised as a resource of knowledge, experience and education for the whole world.”

The conference, which will have ‘A New Purpose for Education’ as its main theme will consider issues including:

  • the challenges facing African countries in the aftermath of the pandemic
  • the suitability of global models in the African context
  • how to redirect education to meet African countries’ future needs
  • using technology to enable African countries to respond to specific needs in context
  • the single African market and the opportunities and requirements of employers
  • Africa’s contribution to global learning and problem solving

Featuring plenary sessions, seminars, workshops, debates and discussions, eLearning Africa will be accompanied by a major exhibition, showcasing some of the latest EdTech technologies and solutions. The conference will take place from 11 – 13 May, 2022 at the Kigali Convention Centre in Rwanda.

“I am delighted that eLearning Africa is back on the road and returning to the splendid, state-of-the-art conference centre in Kigali,” said Ms Stromeyer. “It has been a long wait but I hope this conference will show it has been well worth it. It will be wonderful to see the eLearning Africa family – our amazing network of experts, solutions providers, managers and investors – back together again for what will be the most important programme of discussions in our history.”

Founded in 2005, eLearning Africa is the leading pan-African conference and exhibition on ICT for Education, Training & Skills Development. The three day event offers participants the opportunity to develop multinational and cross-industry contacts and partnerships, as well as to enhance their knowledge and skills.

Over 14 consecutive years, eLearning Africa has hosted more than 18,000 participants from 100+ different countries around the world, with over 80% coming from the African continent. More than 3,830 speakers have addressed the conference about every aspect of technology supported learning, training and skills development.

The eLearning Africa 2022 Call for Papers is now open until October 01, 2021! Submit your proposal HERE.

www.elearning-africa.com