Kigali, 14 November 2016
President Kagame today opened the 27th World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) general meeting taking place in Kigali, bringing together policy makers, researchers, scientists and science students from around the world.
In his address to the gathering, President Kagame stated that science plays a critical role in Rwanda’s socio-economic transformation by helping to narrow the gap with more developed regions.
“Allow me to congratulate the prize winners just announced for their outstanding contributions to science. Your work will certainly make lives better. Throughout history, humankind has relied on science to find practical solutions to its challenges. In the developing world in particular, science plays a critical role in our socio-economic transformation by helping to narrow the gap between us and the more developed regions. This is what has driven Rwanda’s focus on science and technology over the last two decades, even when some might have thought that we had more important things to worry about.”
President Kagame said that the focus for Rwandans and Africans had always been about opening up to the wider world and finding a pathway to understand their situation and identify the best tools available to them and then use that knowledge to reach their full potential.
“For any country, achieving a comprehensive vision while also getting into a position to contribute to global solutions depends on several factors. First, is investment in the necessary institutional and academic infrastructure, as well as in the people, who ultimately are both the drivers and consumers of scientific work? Second, is there collaboration and partnership both among scientists and between policy-makers and researchers? The World Academy of Science is an excellent example of collaboration at both levels, as well as a clear demonstration of the power and relevance of increased South to South cooperation.”
President Kagame stated that the third factor is research and warned that strengthening scientific research capacity has never been more urgent, particularly on the African continent where it can have a transformational impact on the pace and quality of development.
“In Rwanda, we want to do our part. This is why we have established the Rwanda Academy of Science to promote and support the role of science in sustainable development and to provide evidence-based solutions to leaders at all levels. We greatly value the partnerships our country enjoys in various fields, to strengthen our national and regional knowledge systems and find innovative solutions to the challenges and opportunities that we all face. Rwanda is honoured to host several important Centres of Excellence, among them the regional UNESCO Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics.”
President Kagame also listed Carnegie Mellon University which was invited by the Government of Rwanda to provide graduate education in ICT because of its strong tradition of research and scholarship and today, the university forms the core of our Kigali Innovation City.
“We have also partnered with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to create a world-class global climate observatory. Other centres of excellence have been established in fields as diverse as biomedical engineering and e-health, the internet of things, energy for sustainable development, data sciences, and innovative math and science teaching. Rwanda will continue to provide an enabling environment and the support required for the success of these partnerships.”
Several scientists were awarded for excellence in various fields of scientific research.
President Kagame received the TWAS medal for embracing science, technology, innovation for sustainable development in Rwanda and Africa.