By Elias Hakizimana
Indian investors have brought technological initiatives that will help to improve the livelihood of Rwandans in various sectors such as healthcare, agriculture, energy and mining services using advanced ICT Technologies.
The delegation of Indian business innovators was welcomed by government officials in Kigali on Tuesday during an extra ordinary India Rwanda Innovation Growth Programme meeting (IRGP).
Over 20 Indian industries among them will be showcasing most of these technologies during the 2017 Rwanda International Trade Fair and Exhibition at Gikondo Exhibition Ground up to September six to show lessons to local business start-ups.
IRIGP was announced on 20th February 2017 during the visit of H.E Vice President of India in Kigali and is to foster and strengthen the bilateral relationship purely based on science, technology and innovation.
“We have been working on this idea for five years, and when the Honorable Prime Minister of Rwanda was in India for the India Africa forum summit in 2015, we showcased to him Indian technologies and innovations that could solve the problems of Rwanda and through Rwanda-Africa in agriculture, healthcare, ICT, energy and many other sectors,” said Mr. Munish Gupta, IRIGP Advisor.
Gupta explained that the program is to start in Rwanda among other developing countries due to its remarkable examples and potentials to the investors.
Gupta, who heads the Indian delegation, said the businesses do not need a lot of funds, noting that their funding might range between $50,000 and $100,000 (about Rwf83 million).
“India decided that the first progress in Africa of this kind will be with Rwanda because Rwanda promises many advantages: one, Rwanda is corruption free, Rwanda assures you that there is security for investment as a foreign company, Rwanda is safe for the companies coming to do business here, and Rwanda with the progressive policy that has been introduced by the government,
So, the private sector companies of Indian technologies and innovations driven-businesses decided to come and start the first innovative businesses in Africa in Rwanda, so, that’s being the purpose of why we are here,” Gupta added.
He stressed that the call was when President Paul Kagame and the Prime Minister of India met in January this year.
“I have circulated this to the government of India and its department of science and technology that we would like to work with RDB, NIRDA, MINICOM, and PSF to create the ecosystem where the businesses particularly small and medium sector enterprises come up with India technologies and innovations from other parts of the world and then create the own technologies and innovations,” said Gupta.
The pilot phase of the programme is introduced by the 25 Indian companies to set up examples of what will be going on but Gupta promised that about 500 companied will later come in Rwanda to continue such initiatives.
Gupta said that in next few years five hundred more companies from India across different sectors will also come in Rwanda for new innovations and technologies.
“But the most important thing being, unlike some others, Indian enterprises and Indian government want to create jobs, skill the people of Rwanda, create enterprises in Rwanda, and improve employment and economy of this country, that’s the purpose, we have people from agriculture, healthcare ICT, IT, clean energy, and others which are all Africa needs,” Gupta highlighted.
A welcome note by Rwandan Govt
Dr. Joseph Mungarulire , Director General of National Industrial Research and Development Agency (NIRDA) welcomed the initiative of India innovators most especially in health sector where these ones will bring clean energy to avail pure water to the citizens of Rwanda.
“This is a very important initiative, you all know how difficult is to clean water, in agriculture, they will help to improve irrigation on the small-scale land and to transform the remains of plants into medical equipments that our ladies need, their technology of transforming wastes into energy will also help the country,” said Mungarulire.
According to Mrs. Clare Akamanzi, Chief Executive Officer of Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and cabinet member, the visit of 25 Indian companies and the umbrella of FICI which is a Federation of Industries of India is very crucial for RDB and for Rwanda.
“Because on the political level, our president visited India in January this year and one of the biggest objectives were to increase business, economic as well as political relations between India and Rwanda, and so, this follow up of 25 companies participating in international trade fair in Rwanda is very crucial in linking the business community in Rwanda which is something that we want,” Akamanzi said.
She said that India has a lot of expertise in industrialized economy and has built capabilities especially manufacturing in agro-processing, innovation, in health sector, and in mining sector.
“They have capabilities that are globally competitive in each of these sectors and these are the sectors that in Rwanda we want to also develop for driving our economy development, and they have similar challenges to ours so it would be easy to coordinate and also to connect with them,” she said.
“Our hope as RDB as well as working with NIRDA and with private sector federation (PSF) is to see how we can connect the Rwandan businesses with India, to take advantage of the solutions as most of them have innovations that we can use in Rwanda and this is the opportunity to transform lives of our people here in Rwanda as well,” Akamanzi noted.
Stephen Ruzibiza , the chief executive officer of Rwanda Private Sector Federation (PSF) said that technology has no boundaries, and that everything today involves technological innovation including operation services and manufacturing sectors.
The industrial sector’s contribution to the country’s Gross Domestic Product is currently 14 per cent while the country targets 20 per cent under Vision 2020.
This accounts for 14.4 per cent of the overall employment with over 85 per cent covered by non-industry sectors with agriculture on the top.