Speaking to participants of the ceremony held on 8th August 2023, Kagame’s first lesson was to "have a vision." He advised the graduates to identify problems, dedicate their attention to solving them, and make those issues their purpose. He stressed that setbacks are inevitable but having a clear vision is the driving force that separates giving up from perseverance.
In his second lesson, Kagame cautioned the graduates about the doubters and naysayers they might encounter on their paths. He urged them to stay true to their convictions and to do what they believe is right, even if it means taking the less-traveled path. Kagame highlighted that true success often requires going against the norm and being prepared for criticism.
Lastly, Kagame emphasized the importance of collaboration and building meaningful relationships.
He stated that Africa’s challenges stem from a lack of productive collaboration and underutilization of collective wealth, not a scarcity of talent or resources. Kagame encouraged the graduates to surround themselves with like-minded individuals who inspire and motivate them to excel. He reminded them not to forget the relationships they have formed during their time at RICA.
Founded by Dr. Howard G. Buffet with the goal of preparing innovators and entrepreneurs in agriculture, RICA celebrated its first graduation ceremony, conferring Bachelor of Science degrees in Conservation Agriculture to 75 graduates.
Speaking to the graduates, Buffet urged them to continue working diligently to make RICA the most successful institution in Rwanda. He also shared essential elements for success, including judgment, anticipation, resilience in the face of failure, and the impact of interpersonal relationships.
Chichi Brave Ntaganira, representing fellow graduates, expressed gratitude for the unwavering commitment of RICA to their success. He acknowledged the challenges they faced as the first batch of students, but credited the school’s support for their achievements. Ntaganira highlighted that 60% of the graduates are already self-employed, running agricultural startups in areas such as service provision and input manufacturing in the seed industry.
Founded in 2019 through a partnership between American philanthropist Howard G. Buffet and the Rwandan government, RICA presents a comprehensive three-year program. This program leads to the attainment of a Bachelor of Science in Conservation Agriculture. Within this program, students have the option to specialize in either Animal Production or Crop Production, Mechanisation, and Food Processing.
RICA also places emphasis on nurturing leadership, entrepreneurship, and communication skills alongside the academic curriculum.