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Dispatch from Rwanda

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By Mayada El-Zoghbi

KIT Institute’s Managing Director, Mayada El-Zoghbi, recently visited Rwanda, where she met our partner AKADEMIYA2063 2063. She sent us this dispatch from Kigali. In it she talks about the trends she observed and the people she met during her brief visit to the country also known as the ‘Land of a Thousand Hills’.

I’ve been on the board of the Rwandan organisation Access Finance Rwanda in a personal capacity for the past six months. Access Finance Rwanda collaborates with the Rwandan Ministry of Finance, The Central Bank, and the private sector to improve access to finance for both businesses and individuals.

I’m here for our first board retreat and we’ve had much to discuss. We’ve been talking a lot about market trends, and two things stand out to me: the fact that a significant portion of the population, approximately 70%, work in agriculture, while food insecurity affects 20% of the population. This has been the case before and after COVID. 

Throughout the retreat, there has also been quite an emphasis on Rwanda’s reliance on the import of fertiliser and seeds, and the need to develop their local seed market system.

Mayada with the board of Access to Finance

As KIT Institute has worked on improving the seed sector, most recently through our ISSD-Sahel project in Mali and the A3 Seed project in South Sudan, I’m certain that we have a lot of valuable knowledge and expertise to offer in developing a seed sector and finally making it self-reliant. 

I also met with our partner, Akademiya 2063, based in Kigali. Its mission is to provide data, policy analysis, and capacity-strengthening support to enable African countries to achieve the African Union’s Agenda 2063 goals of inclusive and sustainable development and economic prosperity.

We’ve been research partners with Akademiya 2063 since 2022, and we recently launched a joint training course on impact evaluation with them and AGRA in Kigali.

I had a great conversation with Dr. Seraphin Niyonsenga from the Department of Policy Innovation, and Dr. Augustin Wambo Yamdjeu, Director of Knowledge Systems, from Akademiya 2063. I see immense potential for collaboration opportunities.  Both organisations work extensively on food systems transformation and invest in capacity building and knowledge sharing. KIT can offer complementary expertise in the areas of gender and impact. 

I’m really keen to work with KIT Institute’s advisors to ensure these potential opportunities take root and flourish.

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