KIGALI – On June 13th, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) launched a 17.2 billion Rwandan Franc initiative, called Huguka Dukore, to train 40,000 Rwandan youth in workforce readiness skills by 2021.
USAID hosted a launch event for Huguka Dukore at the Kimisagara Youth Empowerment for Global Opportunities (YEGO) Center in Kigali, Rwanda. Attendees included Government of Rwanda ministers, the United States Ambassador to Rwanda, the Mission Director of USAID/Rwanda, and partners from the education, business, and private sectors.
Huguka Dukore, which means “Get Trained and Let’s Work!” in Kinyarwanda, targets Rwandan youth 16 to 30 years old who have between six and nine years of basic education. Huguka Dukore will connect its over 40,000 participants with relevant job skills training, so they can find stable employment, start their own small businesses, or pursue further education.
The training provided by Huguka Dukore includes work-based learning and internship opportunities, links to jobs and self-employment, entrepreneurship training and coaching, and access to financing, family planning, and reproductive health services. Hukuka Dukore will be implemented by the Education Development Center (EDC) over five years.
At the launch event, the U.S. Ambassador to Rwanda Erica Barks-Ruggles emphasized the importance the U.S. government places on partnering with Rwanda to ensure its youth have the opportunity and skills needed to drive economic development and build their future. She stressed the importance of partnering with the private sector and civil society to accomplish the goals of the program. “We are here today to embark on this partnership because we recognize the importance of youth in the future of Rwanda’s continued prosperity,” she said. “Together we can achieve our ambitious targets and reach our goal of a strong, vibrant and flourishing Rwanda for many years to come!”
The Minister of State in charge of Technical and Vocational Education and Training, Olivier Rwamukwaya, was the guest of Honor at the Launch. He emphasized the importance of this program in contributing to Rwanda’s development goals, particularly the “Made in Rwanda” policy and the National Employment Program’s goal of creating at least 200,000 jobs per year.
The launch event was preceded by a miniature exposition of Huguka Dukore’s activities, vision, and goals. Rwandan youth expressed their aspirations and expectations from Huguka Dukore, particularly their hope to be linked further training, coaching, and employment opportunities in Huguka Dukore’s growing network of partners.
A new tech accelerator that will be established early next year in Nairobi is expected to provide mentorship and investment opportunities to promising African e-health care start-ups, boost digital health innovations across the continent.
Ampion, an organization that supports African tech start-ups in partnership with Merck, a pharmaceutical company hope to boost innovation in Health care sector across Africa by opening a specialized Tech health accelerator.
“It’s really about finding start-ups in healthcare space that have two goals: on the one hand to generate profits, on the other hand touch the lives of at least 100 million people,” told The East African recently Fabian Carlos Guhl, founder of Ampion
In Africa, technology is being used to develop mobile and web apps that have the potential to revolutionize healthcare sector, by using technological innovation to address public health gaps such as doctors’ shortage and lack of health facilities.
Medroid is an e-Health platform used in rural Tanzania that enables patients to connect to professional health care providers from wherever they are by combining Micro-phone lens hardware and a mobile application to provide medical solutions.
The app could make healthcare accessible in rural areas, where there are few medical practitioners.
Medroid features include clinical diagnosis service which targets physicians with a working knowledge. It’s a quick diagnosis service that that provides practical, expert, as well as immediate access to patients’ diagnosis results.
Successful Start-ups that are already generating revenues, have a prototype and need money to grow faster will join the initial program in the tech hub. They will receive USD 25.000, USD 50.000 investment and mentoring.
Thirty-one sub-Saharan, African countries have 10 or less medical doctors per 100,000 people. This means mobile technology can be used to increase access to health practitioners.
App development and deployment requires funds and skills to get ideas off ground, scale up innovations generate revenues.
According to Guhl, financial resources, human capital, markets that still need to be developed are the main challenges app developers face.
M-Tiba, is an early stage start up that hope to close medical gap through mobile technologies.
Its healthcare app will be used to help people with least access to health care to get “easy access” to doctor’s consultation via a web platform in Rwanda, Tanzania and Nigeria.
“Our solutions is an online platform to collect patients data, anyone who feels ill will go to an online platform talk to doctors who will be available, “explained Thibault Mutabazi,the co-founder ,” as he keeps using the application he[patient] will have medical history online,”
The app is still at development stage.
In East Africa Ampion program dubbed” Bus Venture” has generated 20 start-ups, but only 2 are currently running.
Muvidaba , one of them based in Kisumu and Nairobi currently developing a mobile app that is directory of medicine..
There are business opportunities for innovators in health care sector in Africa. Aaron Fun, managing partner at Nest ,a venture capital company that invests in early stage startups, says Health Tech is a particularly attractive sector in Africa with a large underserved population.
“There is strong opportunity to develop Health Tech that brings access to basic healthcare, emergency services, pharmaceuticals to geographically dispersed populations. “ He said
M –Pharma is another e-health app startup co-founded by Gregory Rockson, a Ghanaian entrepreneur, the app connects patients, clinicians and pharmacists to find quality medicines at real time and where they are needed most in Ivory Coast and Zambia.
According to Rockston, 1000 patients received their prescriptions through the application in Zambia.
The data generated anonymously by application users is analyzed and collected to build the comprehensive pharmaceutical data platform which can be used in other countries.
Nairobi has become one of large Tech hubs in Africa, known for its incubators and accelerators that provide space for innovators.
Mr. Guhly revealed the upcoming health tech accelerator recently at the end of East African Venture bus tour a tech hub in Kigali.
Experts say Apps that are scalable have the potential to attract investments.
According to Fu, African app developers can attract investments the same way the rest of the world do.
“By building a strong team with relevant experience to execute, a precisely defined CVP (revenue equation where Profits = Sales – Variable Costs – Fixed Costs) and a thought-through and comprehensive go to market strategy,” explained the managing Partner, Vest Africa
Teta Isibo owner of Inzuki design a brand that specializes in Jewellery,accessories and House decor won Banque Populaire award last weekend during the closing ceremony of Global Entrepreneurship week Rwanda 2012.She also received 2million francs ,mentorship , office space. and an opportunity represent Rwanda in a pan-African business competition in South Africa.