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Rwanda leaps forward in journey to build innovation ecosystem

Presentation at workshop. Credit RSA
Presentation at workshop. Credit RSA

London, 7 June 2023.- The Research Institute for Innovation and Sustainability (RIIS) and the Rwanda Space Agency (RSA) hosted a multi-stakeholder workshop in Rwanda in support of the space agency’s drive to harness emerging space opportunities. The project to develop this is funded by the United Kingdom Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (UKFCDO) under the Research Innovations Systems Africa (RISA) programme. 

The workshop brought government, academia, industry, incubators and accelerators together to create interventions intended to grow the space innovation ecosystem in Rwanda. It is part of a series of engagement and co-creation processes with stakeholders to develop and validate ideas for the space innovation ecosystem roadmap. 

Participants included Digital Earth Africa, an organisation focused on making Earth observation (EO) data free and accessible; Esri, a geographic information system (GIS) software developer; The Women in Business Initiative, a startup support programme for female entrepreneurs; Kumva Insights, an organisation that develops remote sensing technology; Locus Dynamics, an aerospace component manufacturer; Zipline, a developer of autonomous delivery systems; and Kigali Innovation City, a technology hub for Rwanda. 

RIIS is working with stakeholders to develop the roadmap, and raising awareness about benefits of space-based data, the role of the private sector, and the benefits for the private sector. 

“Our vision is to create an inclusive platform where every Rwandan can reap the benefits of space technologies and ground-breaking innovations,” says Colonel Francis Ngabo, CEO of the RSA. “This workshop marks a significant milestone in our comprehensive plans for the next ten years”.

Rwanda is making progress towards harnessing space technology in socio-economic development to contribute to the development agenda. RSA is supporting existing initiatives of the government of Rwanda, such as Vision 2050, working with many institutions including the Rwanda Water Resources Board. This is taking place alongside the push for space diplomacy. African governments are exploring how they can harness space as a source of data for decision-making when it comes to disaster, disease, environmental and resource management.

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