Rwanda signs deal to set up Science Centre of Excellence in Kigali

Minister Musafiri speaks to the media after signing the agreement yesterday. (Doreen Umutesi)

The Rwandan government has signed a partnership agreement with the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences – Next Einstein Initiative (AIMS-NEI) to facilitate its operations in the country.

The agreement was signed at the Ministry of Education head offices in Kigali on Tuesday.

Established in 2003 in South Africa, AIMS-NEI’s aim is to educate Africa’s brightest students in Mathematics and Sciences to grow a pool of skilled mathematicians and cientists who can find solutions for problems affecting the African continent.

The development was first announced last December after the Institute’s founder Neil Turok met with President Paul Kagame in Kigali.

One of the central programmes of AIMS is an intensive one year Masters Programme in Mathematical Sciences.

Under the agreement, AIMS intends to establish its secretariat, global headquarters of the Next Einstein Forum (NEF) and launch the Quantum Leap Africa research centre in the country.

The establishment of an Aims centre in Rwanda is expected to strengthen the scientific community in the country through an innovative mathematical curriculum that is relevant to the development issues currently affecting the country, according to officials.

Speaking after the signing ceremony, Papias Musafiri, the Minister for Education, said the partnership with AIMS-NEI would greatly enhance Rwanda’s ambitions to strengthen capacity in science mathematics and engineering to support national and regional development efforts.

“Our education system is still lacking in terms of mathematics and sciences which is why we are putting emphasis on this particular field. Even institutions of higher learning opening branches in Rwanda rarely engage in these two fields. So, the fact that AIMS is coming to Rwanda is a great step forward,” he added.

Part of the plan by AIMS includes training teachers on new methodologies of teaching mathematics and sciences.

The institute believes that mathematics and sciences will bring about real transformation through invention and innovation to the continent.

Teachers will be trained in teaching of these two fields to develop generations of independent and innovative thinkers.

Thierry Zomahoun, president and CEO of AIMS-NEI, stated that the initiative was the result of an invitation from President Kagame.

“AIMS will join the science and innovation ecosystem that the government is building with the aim of becoming a continental hub in technology. AIMS sees Rwanda as a conducive environment for its initiatives and we look forward to collaborating and supporting the local and regional research community,” he said.

Zomahoun said they chose Rwanda because it is a rising nation with an effective government, technological breakthroughs, good transport linkages and great immigration policies.

He acknowledged the full support AIMS has received from the government, noting that the geo-strategic location of Rwanda is perfect for AIMS operations and plans.

It is estimated that all AIMS programmes which are to be implemented in Rwanda are worth $60 million. Students from all over the world who wish to be part of the AIMS programme can pursue the programme in Rwanda.

AIMS currently has four other centres, in Cameroon, Senegal, Ghana, and Tanzania with a target to establish centres in 15 other countries by 2023.

Source: New Times Rwanda

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