Rwanda Launches Innovation Fund for Nationals, East Africa

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Rwanda launched Wednesday the National Research and Innovation Fund to promote innovation economy in Rwanda and the East African Community (EAC).

The fund would serve as a major research funding vehicle for innovation activities, Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente said in Kigali.

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“Rwanda will keep supporting research and technology with particular emphasis to link our young innovators with the labor market,” he said.

The fund is supported by a loan of 30 million U.S. dollars from the African Development Bank.

The regional multilateral development bank said the fund will be used to establish an investment vehicle focusing on funding tech-enabled small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and to develop Rwanda’s entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem capacity.

The fund will provide equity financing for SMEs, train tech-oriented entrepreneurs in business planning and management, and increase awareness on intellectual property rights in Rwanda, the EAC and beyond, the bank said.

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It is expected to support more than 150 companies at various stages and create more than 2,000 direct jobs and over 6,000 indirect jobs over its 10-year life cycle, according to the bank.