Rwanda is to host an India Innovation Growth Programme for the East African region, according to an agreement signed between the two countries on Feb. 20 in Kigali.
Under the agreement, the India-Rwanda Innovation Growth Program is being launched to enable India expand ties in science, technology and innovation between the two countries.
The agreement was signed by Indian Vice President Hamid Ansari and Rwandan Prime Minister Anastase Murekezi in the Rwandan capital, Kigali.
Ansari explained that after this pilot project in Rwanda, the programme is proposed to be implemented in the East African community in seven countries and will then be scaled up to seven other economic zones across Africa.
Under the programme, 20 Indian technologies and innovations are to be adopted over a period of two years.
“The programme aims at creating an ecosystem wherein Indian innovations and technology enterprises will thrive and encourage business ventures from both sides,” Ansari said.
The vice president said it was an “exciting prospect” to see the captains of trade and industry from Rwanda stand alongside the Indian business community and innovators.
“This portends well for the future of Rwanda-India commercial and economic relations,” he said.
Prime Minister Murekezi attended the event organised by Rwanda Development Board, the Private Sector Federation of Rwanda and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI).
Ansari addressed business leaders and experts from the two countries. He said Rwanda offers a “wonderful platform” to Indian partners to enhance their presence in other parts of Africa and emphasised India was “ready to work” with partners in Rwanda and the larger African continent in “transferring our experience” in building an innovation-driven economy.
Agreement on the India-Rwanda Innovation Growth Program is one of three agreements signed during Ansari’s visit to Kigali.
Ansari also pledged to ensure that Indian companies subcontracted to implement the second phase of Nyabarongo Hydro Electric power project start work soon.
Ansari arrived in Kigali with a large delegation comprising diplomats, investors, and politicians.
The Nyabarongo II project is expected to generate 17MW of electricity at a cost of $98M.
The agreement were negotiated when President Kagame visited India in January and met with leaders there.
The agreements are intended to boost bilateral relations that include establishment of an entrepreneurship development centre in Kigali. According to the Memorandum of Understandings signed between Rwanda and India, Rwanda Air will soon begin services to India.
The government of India has already approved the India-Rwanda Air Services Agreement (ASA) under which the Rwanda national carrier; RwandAir, will fly to Mumbai.
Rwandair meanwhile has already announced its plans to launch its air services to India from the next fiscal with four flights per week to Mumbai.
India’s Union Cabinet, which metunder by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, approved the signing of Air Services Agreement (ASA) between India and Rwanda, an official release said on Feb. 21.
The agreement would provide an enabling environment for enhanced and seamless connectivity while providing commercial opportunities to the carriers of both sides and ensuring greater safety and security, an official release said.
The agreement has the potential to spur greater trade, investment, tourism and cultural exchange between India and Rwanda, bringing it in tune with developments in the civil aviation sector, it added.
According to agreements signed in Kigali, the two countries will mutually exempt visa requirements for diplomatic and official passport holders. Rwandan Prime Minister Anastase Murekezi said the MoUs will boost economic and business ties with India.
“We have 54 years of fruitful bilateral relationship. Rwanda and India share important ties and we are committed to make this relationship grow stronger,” Murekezi said.
Ansari was on a five-day tour to Rwanda and Uganda.