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The New Times – Rwanda
President Paul Kagame Monday evening addressed a gathering of over 300 business leaders in Charlotte, North Carolina in the US, where he said that Rwanda has put behind the tragedies of the past decades to shape a better future.
"We don't allow ourselves to get lost in our tragedies because if you do that, that is where you stay. The lessons should be able to inform as to how we shape our future,” he said at an event hosted by HIINGA, a Christian Investment Fund.
In these tragedies, Kagame said, “there are silver linings, people emerge and aspire for a much better future than they have experienced.”
On Rwanda charting its own path, President Kagame told the business leaders that the country has no specific set of rules that have guided her development blueprint.
“We don’t follow rules, we follow choices. There is no rule book for us. If things work for us, we celebrate. If they don’t, we don’t blame anybody. We look back and ask where did we go wrong?”
“We do not make other people’s mistakes. We have had relationship where people come and tell you what to do and when things go wrong it’s on you, and they turn around and blame you for it,” the President added.
HIINGA is a Christian economic development organisation with a mission to create jobs by investing in African entrepreneurs through the funding of micro, small and medium enterprise companies.
Paul Kagame in Charlotte
HIINGA partners with the local church and local government to serve the needs of farmers through savings, credit, financial literacy, agricultural training and leadership development.
The Herald (Harare)
In the past few years, artisanal miners have produced more gold than conglomerates, making their input in the national economy critical.
The Battlefields national disaster has shone light on the risks facing artisanal gold miners as they search for the precious stone.
The disaster of such a magnitude, calls for an urgent address of several challenges that multitudes of artisanal miners face daily.
The horrific accident involving an estimated 70 miners struck last Tuesday and has seen 24 bodies recovered, while eight lucky miners were rescued alive.
For a long time, the story of artisanal mining has been characterised by unorthodox workmanship, makeshift and or obsolete equipment, subsistence and illegality.
Yet the same artisanal miners have in the past five years emerged the cornerstone of gold production where they have delivered more gold than conglomerates.
Perceived as the new economy drivers, the small-scale gold miners last year hit a 47 percent gold production output, probably the highest in recent times, with a projected similar performance for this year.
Those figures speak undoubtedly to a growing sector that contributes significantly to the growth of the country's economy. Such a positive narrative call for the Government to give the necessary support to the sector, to protect and sustain it. Of immediate concern is the need to address safety and security issues in artisanal mining to prevent further loss of life.
Government and other stakeholders need to invest in solid infrastructure and sustainable management systems. The miners are critical stakeholders in the industry and it is high time the Government helps them do the right things, if further disasters of this kind are to be averted.
That narrative should be matched with modern mining mechanisation, which increases efficiency and production, while minimising injuries and loss of life and limb.
This calls for mandatory adequate close monitoring of artisanal operations and a regulatory enforcement by the Government to ensure that small-scale miners are not subjected to death traps.
We hear that the Environmental Management Agency visited the Battlefields disaster site about two weeks before the accident and made certain recommendations and observations, which sadly were not enforced before disaster struck.
Lives would have been saved had the relevant stakeholders effected recommendations by EMA to upgrade safety aspects of the dotted shafts, which were later flooded, killing some of the miners.
It becomes clear that there has not been regular monitoring and enforcement of existing mining activities.
We believe the challenges that artisanal miners currently face are too many for the Government to address in a stroke of a pen. It needs systematic, sustained and sustainable.
It therefore, remains critical to support such a sector, whose contribution to the growth of the economy is essential.
The New Times – Rwanda
By: Julius Bizimungu
Nigerian innovation hub, Co-Creation Hub (CcHUB), last week extended its physical presence beyond its home country for the first time in its eight-year history to launch Africa’s first ‘Design Lab’ in Rwanda.
CcHUB officially unveiled its Design Lab in Kigali last week at a moderately small gathering that brought together public officials and tech-enthusiasts among others.
Probably as proof of innovation, unlike the traditional ribbon cutting to mark official launches, Rwanda’s Minister for ICT and Innovation, Paula Ingabire, declared the design lab officially open with a tweet.
That, they said, was to prove how technology can bring efficiency in terms of doing any business.
Youth during the launch of CcHUB Design Lab.
That is just what their new design lab seeks to do in different sectors, including in healthcare, education and governance.
“The design lab is about bringing design into the way public agencies and large corporations think about the implementation and use of technology to solve significant problems in the society,” Bosun Tijani, the hub’s Founder and Chief Executive, said.
They said they plan to invest $11 million (nearly Rwf10 billion).
Unlike the popular hubs that can host anyone anytime, the design lab is a space exclusively for collaborations between designers and engineers together with scientists and stakeholders.
What CcHUB is doing is hiring both local and foreign product developers who will collaborate with public and private institutions to create solutions for some of the existing complex problems.
They said their decision to establish in Rwanda was based on the country’s progress, particularly the ability to build systems that enable innovation and creativity.
“We are not here [in Rwanda] because we think there is a lot of money to make but because we believe there is something about this country that allows creativity and can inspire change across Africa,” Bosun said.
Already, the lab announced a partnership with Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC) as its first local partner.
Without revealing specific details on the nature of the partnership, officials said that they are keen on building digital solutions for public health.
Bosun told Business Times that under the deal with RBC they particularly will work on solutions for non-communicable diseases.
“We will generally be spending more of our resources in adherence to treatment and focus on systems that can help us efficiently collect data,” he noted.
Other areas of focus
The new design lab will focus on other sectors including education and governance. They believe the same concept can contribute to better outcomes particularly related to demand-side challenges and behavior change outcomes.
They have plans to innovate for education with an aim to use technology to widen STEM education, improve interest and learning outcomes and introduce smart applications in schools.
The firm also has plans to bridge the gap between government and citizens and improve the technology delivery of public services.
The new design lab seeks to ensure better outcomes, improve processes, expand capabilities and increase equity in the education sector, public health and governance.
Experts believe that when design principles are applied to strategy and innovation the success rate for impact improves.
An assessment conducted by the Design Management Institute indicated that design-led companies such as Apple, Coca-Cola, IBM, Nike, Procter & Gamble and Whirlpool had outperformed their peers over the past 10 years by about 211 per cent.
Though the design concept seems to be in its initial phases, its fast gaining popularity in developing countries but has been useful in developed economies for years.
In 2003, while explaining the invention of iPod – what was then a small, sleek-looking digital music player that weighed a few ounces and had the capacity to hold more songs than any other music player, Steve Jobs hinted on what design meant in the making of such a powerful tool.
“Most people make the mistake of thinking design is what it looks like. People think it’s this veneer – that the designers are handed this box and told, ‘Make it look good!’ That’s not what we think design is. It’s not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works,” Apple’s then Chief Executive had told The New York Times.
Weighing in on design thinking
Patrick Buchana, the Chief executive of AC Group, a local technology company behind the popular smart cards for public transport, weighed in on why design thinking should be a widely adopted concept.
“We spent more [time] trying to listen to what is needed. The innovation is not Tap-and-Go; the innovation is what the Tap and Go system can do for the context in which you are launching it. It is important to understand the challenges you are solving,” he said, unpacking their process of how they designed the Tap&Go system which is now widely used across public city transport.
On the other hand, Kampeta Sayinzoga, the Director General of National Industrial Research and Development Agency (NIRDA), highlighted that Rwanda had already started applying design thinking to promote the industry.
“The first mindset we need to create is to build the link between research and product development. Through the Ministry of Trade and Industry, we research ways to enable design thinking to revolutionalize the industrial space to create solutions,” she said.
The Herald (Harare)
By: Sifelani Tsiko Senior Writer
A team of Zimbabwean researchers has discovered an “ozone hole” over South Africa that is centred over the Free State Province during spring, which impacts on temperature and rainfall levels, according to findings published in the Journal of Frontiers in Earth Science.
Lead author, Professor Desmond Manatsa, a climate science expert at Bindura University of Science Education (BUSE) and his colleague, Professor Geoffrey Mukwada from Free State University made these stunning revelations whilst working under the “Afromontane Research Unit Project” that is based at the Free State University of South Africa.
Ozone (O3) is an “allotrope” of oxygen — a form of oxygen that is different to O2, the gas that makes up 21 percent of the atmosphere.
Ozone is formed from oxygen in a reversible reaction.
The ozone layer is the part of the upper atmosphere where ozone is found in the highest concentrations.
The ozone there absorbs ultraviolet radiation, preventing most of it from reaching the ground. This is important because ultraviolet radiation can lead to skin cancer.
In simple terms, it is a shield high in the sky protecting us from potentially lethal solar radiation.
Prof Manatsa and Prof Mukwada found that when the ozone hole develops in certain spring seasons, the temperatures are observed to rise significantly and while drying the region especially the Free State Province.
But when the “ozone hole” fills up considerably, the sub-region becomes cooler and wetter. These novel findings constitute the strongest evidence yet that ozone has a significant direct impact on the climate of South Africa.
South Africa’s “Ozone Hole,” ever to be discovered over any continent outside the polar regions represents a discovery that is “at the frontier of science” and has recently been published in the Journal of Frontiers in Earth Science.
“This research was prompted by the steep contrast on the heat from the sun that was rather ‘scorching’ during my spring season visit to Free State University in 2015 compared to the subsequent same period visit in 2017 when the sun appeared cooler,” said Prof Manatsa, a gold medal recipient of the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) award for Ozone Impact Research on Southern Africa
“What puzzled me is that this unexplained sun’s heating difference between the two periods could easily be distinguished on one’s skin especially in October under similar clear sky and calm.
“That is when it occurred to us that there should be something within the clear skies that was allowing the sun’s heat to significantly filter through in 2015 while considerably eating up the heat from the sun in 2017. We then reasoned that the most likely gas with such propensity to alter the energy coming from the sun under clear sky and calm conditions should be ozone.”
The ozone layer resides in the stratosphere (upper part of the atmosphere) which surrounds the entire Earth. This layer considerably absorbs the ultraviolet (UV-B) radiation from the Sun.
As a result, the amount of UV-B reaching Earth’s surface is greatly reduced, hence basically the ozone layer acts as a shield to protect the Earth.
However, Prof Manatsa said, when depleted more UV-B filters in to heat the lower atmosphere and the surface where it has been found in this research to have a direct impact on the climate of South Africa.
On the other hand, ozone’s depletion in the ozone layer may have dire consequences on the wellbeing of the community as it allows more UVB to reach the surface of the earth. It has been known that human exposure to relatively large amount of UV-B increases the risk of skin cancer, cataracts, and a suppressed immune system and can also damage terrestrial plant life and aquatic ecosystems.
“Ozone depletion has always been a global issue needing urgent attention. For example, just over 30 years ago, when scientists discovered an environmental crisis that was attributed to the ozone hole over the Antarctica (South Pole), policies were quickly put in place to ban the offending chemicals popularly known as the ozone depleting substances under the auspices of the Montreal Protocol of 1987 and its subsequent amendments,” said Prof Manatsa.
This protocol has since been ratified by 196 states and the European Union, making it the first treaty in United Nations history to be universally adopted. As a result, there is now growing evidence indicating that the Montreal Protocol is working as intended.
“Now it appears that as the ozone hole has taken a backseat in the minds of the public, a fresh crisis appears to have arisen, adding a new dimension to the already known perils of climate change over South Africa,” the Zimbabwean climate expert said.
“The ozone hole is not technically a “hole” where there is virtually no ozone, but is actually a region of exceptionally depleted ozone in the upper part of the atmosphere(stratosphere). Unlike to the causes for the development of the ‘ozone hole’ over the Antarctic where the depletion is caused by chemical reactions that are enhanced by the ozone depleting substances, that over South Africa has been linked to the Brewer Dobson circulation.”
This circulation, he noted, is more pronounced during Southern Hemisphere spring (August–October) where it transports ozone in the stratosphere from the tropics to the subtropics, the region of South Africa’s location.
The “ozone hole” that is centred over Free State of South Africa, develops when this circulation is enhanced in some years thereby rapidly transporting more ozone diluted air, as what has occurred more often after 1997 due to global warming.
Prior to 1997, he said, the “ozone hole” was not that apparent since the transported air had predominantly adequate ozone concentrations.
“As such, as long as global warming intensifies, so does the ozone hole over South Africa. This means that the ozone depletion cannot yet be ticked off the country’s environmental watch list,” Prof Manatsa said.
“Unlike the chemical ozone depletion which is being reduced through limiting the emissions of ozone depleting substances under the Montreal Protocol, climate change is also confounding the way this environmental issue can be scientifically tackled as it is the global warming which appears to deepen the ozone hole over South Africa by enhancing the Brewer Dobson circulation.
“This makes it unrealistic to expect the spring ozone layer over South Africa to ever return to its pre-depletion state (pre-1997) without solving global issues related to restricting global warming.”
While the South African government works itself into frenzy about environmental issues, this demonstrated evidence entails that they should not ignore the situation above the country’s clouds.
“When you see such local discoveries, you don’t have to start debating statistics. It appears in this work the scientists have demonstrated their case very clearly.
“As such we must do the needful by probing deeper rather than brush it aside as just one of those usual research findings’, said one of the experts familiar with this work.
“We now hope that we can find yet additional impacts of the ‘ozone hole’ on the health of society, agriculture and ecosystems during the period, that outside what we demonstrated on the impacts on temperature and rainfall”, said co-author Prof Mukwada.