Rwanda is fast becoming a tech destination in Africa, emerging as a key tech and investment hub with its ease of doing business.
In July 2018, Rwanda hosted the World Economic Forum on Africa in May, and work is reportedly well underway on the Kigali Innovation City, which will house innovation labs and provide training and funding for technology companies.
Recently, Nigeria’s technology centre and co-working space, Co-Creation Hub or CcHUB as its popularly called, launched a design lab in Kigali, Rwanda.
The move makes Rwanda the first place CcHUB has put down roots outside Nigeria. The firm plans to bridge the gap between government and citizens and improve the technology delivery of public services.
“The design lab is about bringing design into the way public agencies and large corporations think about the implementation and use of technology to solve significant problems in the society,” Bosun Tijani, the hub’s Founder and Chief Executive, said.
They said they plan to invest $11 million (nearly Rwf10 billion).
The focus areas of the design lab will “become a leading creative space where its multidisciplinary team of product designers and engineers will collaborate with scientists and stakeholders globally, to explore the application of emerging technologies that will solve Africa’s systemic problems in Public Health, Education, Governance and the Private Sector.”
They have plans to innovate for education with an aim to use technology to widen STEM education, improve interest and learning outcomes and introduce smart applications in schools.
Unlike the popular hubs that can host anyone anytime, the design lab is a space exclusively for collaborations between designers and engineers together with scientists and stakeholders.
Already, the lab announced a partnership with Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC) as its first local partner.
Without revealing specific details on the nature of the partnership, officials said that they are keen on building digital solutions for public health.
“We will generally be spending more of our resources in adherence to treatment and focus on systems that can help us efficiently collect data,” he noted.
“We are not here [in Rwanda] because we think there is a lot of money to make but because we believe there is something about this country that allows creativity and can inspire change across Africa,” Bosun said.
On the other hand, Kampeta Sayinzoga, the Director General of National Industrial Research and Development Agency (NIRDA), highlighted that Rwanda had already started applying design thinking to promote the industry.
“The first mindset we need to create is to build the link between research and product development. Through the Ministry of Trade and Industry, we research ways to enable design thinking to revolutionalize the industrial space to create solutions,” she said.