The University of Rwanda and Sweden partners are gathered in Kigali for a five-day Annual Review Meeting to assess the progress of Sweden support to the University of Rwanda for the year 2017-2018. The meeting is inline with the existing collaboration, which aims among others to improve UR research and staff capacity for the development of Rwanda.
The meeting was officially opened by Prof Philip Cotton, the University of Rwanda Vice Chancellor who expressed his gratitude for the trust and dedication of the Government of Sweden towards the advancement of research for the development of Rwanda.
Speaking on the occasion, Ms Christina Wedekull the Head of Development Cooperation at Sweden Embassy noted that the Embassy endeavours to support Rwanda to reach its aspirations of becoming a middle-income country by 2035 and high-income country by 2050. According to her, investing in skills development, science, technology and innovation is key to achieve set targets.
Prof Philip Cotton (UR) and Ms Christina Wedekull (Sweden)
She also underlined the need for regarding and protecting academic freedom, which will allow the university to fulfil its responsibilities by promoting critical thinking and debate. “As home of knowledge generation, universities are well placed to analyze decisions and policies and provide suggestions for improvement,” she said.
In her remarks, Dr Emilia Molnar the Senior Programme Manager for Research and Higher Education at the Embassy of Sweden said that the Embassy supports UR in its goal of becoming a research-led University and play a significant role in the development of Rwanda. She also informed participants about the rationale of the meeting being an opportunity to assess the Programme previous year results, discuss encountered problems and jointly look ways for addressing them with the Management of the University of Rwanda.
“There is a need for environment and institution change so that research could thrive” Molnar said.
In his presentation, Mr Raymond Ndikumana, the Overall Coordinator of UR-Sweden Programme presented the genesis of the Programme from way back in 2002. He recalled that it started as an emergency support to Rwanda and was paying salaries of former National University of Rwanda staff especially expatriates. Currently, The Programme aims to support UR to become an effective player for the development of Rwanda by creating good conditions that promote research and postgraduate training.
Mr Raymond Ndikumana and Dr Emilia Molnar
In the course of sixteen years, the support of the Government of Sweden has enormously propelled the University of Rwanda to a new level. In the area of postgraduate training, it has now produced 52 PhD. The programme has also supported the University research environment by providing ICT and library support through staff training and purchasing of equipment. The support is channeled through sixteen sub programmes, which are jointly led by Rwandan and Swedish team leaders.
Section of participants in the meeting
By Darius Murangwa