Opening Remarks at the INNOVATE 4 INDUSTRY Hackathon

November 11, 2019

Director General of NIRDA,
Colleagues from the One UN Family,
Estimated partners,
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Muraho Mwese!

I am pleased to be here with you to this timely event: Innovate 4 Industry Hackathon.

First of all, I would like to express my deepest appreciation to Mrs Kampeta Sayinzoga, the Director General of the National Industrial Research Development Agency (NIRDA) for the leadership in enabling young Rwandans to gain knowledge and innovative skills to accelerate industrial development of this country. Also, thank you all for your participation and congratulations to our young innovators for being selected for this competitive training (Hackathon). I am sure you will learn a lot during these three days, and we look forward to excellent results.

We are living a period of rapid change driven by innovation and technology. Our ability to absorb and use related information will depend on how fast and how often we learn. I am confident that these kinds of innovative Hackathons, if organized often, will give us opportunities to discover and adapt new technologies to cope with the change and overcome the current and future challenges of our industries and beyond.

Rwanda is one of the innovation giants in Africa. Under the new National Strategy for Transformation (NST1), the government of Rwanda has an ambitious goal to accelerate the private sector-led economic growth and increased productivity through promoting industrialization and attaining a structural shift with the aim of growing exports by 17% annually. In order to achieve this goal, our young innovators have a role to play in tackling existing industrial challenges and developing technology-based solutions with social impact.

Also, this Hackathon contributes to the implementation of SDG 9 –industry, innovation and infrastructure. In this regard, I wish to thank NIRDA again for hosting this wonderful training to encourage our young innovators to transform their ideas into technological businesses. 

UNDP Rwanda provides support in this area since year 2013. We started with a programme that we implemented in collaboration with the Ministry of Youth (previous the Ministry of Youth and ICT) aiming at empowering youth in Rwanda to build an innovative community that is confident in its ability to solve its own challenges by making a smart use of the abundant opportunities around us. The programme helped a big number of young people to become entrepreneurs, created more than 6 thousand jobs and grew into a continental platform under the name “YouthConnekt”.

Let me use this opportunity to invite you all to attend this year YouthConnekt summit that will take place in Kigali on 9th to 11th October 2019.  We are expecting more than 10,000 young people including global political and economic leaders, young organization leaders, young innovators and professionals, students, and academics from all over the continent.

In addition to YouthConnekt, UNDP Rwanda is opening an Accelerator Lab that will help to find quicker solutions to pressing issues. These two mechanisms are creating an ecosystem to test new technologies and new approaches to deliver better results and innovation for development and we hope to continue working with the government to expand them.

I would like to end my speech by reaffirming the commitment of UNDP to support NIRDA to increase the competitiveness of Rwanda Industries and clean production.

I wish you success and look forward to the results of the Hackathon.

Thank you.