Rwanda Launches Africa’s First Centre of the Fourth Industrial Revolution

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Robots are on display for the launch of the center for the fourth industrial revolution (C4IR) in Kigali, Rwanda. Image sourced from Xinhua news.

The government of Rwanda has announced the launch of the Centre of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (C4IR), the first of its kind to be formally launched in Africa, according to Borge Brende, president of the World Economic Forum (WEF), who spoke at the centre’s launch. The WEF partnered with the East African country’s government to launch C4IR in Kigali.

According to Rwanda’s Minister of Information Communication Technology and Innovation, Paula Ingabire, C4IR’s launch was due to the rapid innovation witnessed in Africa during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic over the last two years, as well as the arrival of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, a movement that has taken the continent by storm.

“…there is an increased urgency to develop digital and technological capacities to build more resilient systems for a healthier society and more sustainable economy,” Ingabire said, quoted by Media24.

Rwanda will “work with stakeholders around the world to design and pilot new approaches to technology governance that foster innovation in an inclusive and responsible manner”, according to the WEF’s website.

New projects to be conducted at the C4IR include formulating and looking at the country’s laws and policies around artificial intelligence, and the protection of personal data and privacy.

“The launch of this centre is enabled by investments that we, as a country, have been making in science and technology. I hope the centre will build on this by making the Fourth Industrial Revolution an equalising force, and contributing solutions to some of today’s most pressing challenges. We are very happy to have the World Economic Forum as a partner in this crucial and other endeavours,” Rwandan President Paul Kagame during the launch of C4IR last week.

He added that the launch of the centre was evidence of how far the country had advanced in the fields of science and technology nearly 30 years after the infamous ethnically-motivated genocide gripped the country in the 1990s.

“This is the first centre to be formally launched in Africa. It says a lot about the leadership in the country when it comes to leapfrogging and being visionary when it comes to new technologies,” WEF president Brende chimed.

“I think that this Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Rwanda will play an important role to meet the ratio of Rwanda becoming an upper-middle-income country by 2035. The centre, I hope, will be a key enabler of Rwanda’s goal of becoming an even more prosperous society,” he said.

“The time has come for Africa to put itself at the very centre of a new technological revolution. Our continent has a unique competitive advantage that stems from an undeniably entrepreneurial spirit that is built into our young generations – that is an ability to innovate out of necessity,” added Ingabire.


By Luis Monzon
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