Rwanda is a remarkable country. There is a sense of purpose and pride in the shared vision for the future that is inspiring.
I came to Kigali to speak at the African Innovation Summit (AIS2018) and to investigate the feasibility of setting up a development centre for our African SME and Financial Inclusion Network platform.
Throughout the week I met incredible people innovating African solutions to African problems. From teenagers from a local school for orphans who had taught themselves to code and had established their own development team to recently graduated Master students from the new Carnegie Mellon University in Kigali who had won Facebook hackathons in AI and Cyber Security. I visited start up hubs and met CEO’s of Rwandan ICT companies driving forward the country’s ICT strategy including ground breaking initiatives like I&M Bank Rwanda’s recently launched blockchain mobile banking solution.
At AIS2018 I met hundreds of innovators all passionate about solving problems that impact people every day. I shared a panel, excellently chaired by Tiffany Chan, with Simbarashe Mhuriro from Oxygen Africa who is building solar farms in Zimbabwe, Olivia Mukam-Wandji who is advising African startups on how to scale and Babatomiwa Adesida a UNDP Sustainable Development Goals ambassador. I reconnected with my Accenture past at the launch of the Youth for Africa and SDGs. The summit concluded with the launch of the three Reports on Emerging Technologies – Drones, Malaria Gene treatment and Solar microgrids – that will help Africa lead the 4th Industrial Revolution.
The take-away for me was that there are endless possibilities for innovation in Africa, with the Rwandan government and the Rwandan Development Board (RDB) providing a visionary framework and stability to make Rwanda the Singapore of Africa.
I am passionate about Africans building African solutions to African problems in Africa which is why I am so excited to be moving to Kigali with my family in August to set up our development team to build and launch our African solution. As a ninth generation African I am proud to have this opportunity to be part of the African Innovation journey.
– Gavin Erasmus