Since the devastating 1994 genocide, Rwanda has enjoyed rapid economic growth and social transformation. It now stands as a model of effective governance and economic planning for Africa. Much of this success derives from a commitment to building the capacity of Rwandans, as well as through forward-looking economic policies and investments in science, technology, and innovation (STI). To continue on this path of economic growth and to ensure that its benefits extend to all Rwandans, Rwandan policymakers recognize that they must remain vigilant about how they choose to invest Rwanda’s growing resources. To this end, GKI partnered with Rwanda’s Ministry of Education and the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) to complete an evaluation of the implementation of Rwanda’s National STI Policy. Building off of this initial evaluation effort, which ended in August 2013, GKI has deepened its policy and strategy relationship with Rwanda’s government through two interconnected efforts: a Five-Year Strategic Plan and an STI Policy Implementation Strategy.
In 2013, the Government of Rwanda took a bold step by inaugurating a National Commission of Science and Technology (NCST) to advise on, monitor and evaluate, and coordinate STI-related activities across Rwanda’s economy. Answering a call for proposals from the Rwandan government, GKI earned the chance to partner with NCST to write its Five-Year Strategic Plan. Combining insights from stakeholder interviews conducted across Rwanda’s economy, design sessions with NCST staff, and international benchmarking GKI developed a Five Year Strategic Plan that will guide NCST as it coordinates STI in Rwanda. GKI Chief Operating Officer (COO) Sara Farley’s presentation of the Strategic Plan in July 2014 dovetailed with the beginning of a research and design effort that would advance NCST’s efforts, and begin the process of setting forward looking priorities and targets for national action on STI.
Following the development of NCST’s Five Year Strategic Plan, and building off of GKI’s 2013 STI Policy Review, GKI partnered with UNECA and Rwanda’s Ministry of Education to develop an STI Policy Implementation Strategy. Consisting of policy priorities, activities, and a clear monitoring and evaluation plan, this Implementation Strategy will provide structure and guidance for national investments in STI in the private sector; education; infrastructure development; research; environmental management; and a host of other key areas. GKI has disseminated a questionnaire to working groups in key sectors to gather input on policy priorities groups believe are especially important, mechanisms they think will support these priorities, and what success might look like in terms of quantitative and qualitative targets.
Later this month, GKI staff will travel to Kigali, Rwanda to facilitate a high-level workshop hosted by the Rwanda Ministry of Education. The event will bring together stakeholders from across Rwanda’s economy to vet and validate the Implementation Strategy developed by GKI, and the Rwanda STI Policy that has been updated based on GKI’s review and recommendations. When taken together, the STI Policy Review, NCST Five-Year Strategic Plan, and STI Policy Implementation Strategy represent a great stride for Rwanda in supporting the growth of their national knowledge economy.