Global innovation spotlight: Rwanda – Springwise

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Reflecting our global Springwise readership, we explore the innovation landscape and freshest thinking from a new country each week. This week we are heading to Rwanda…

Rwanda Innovation Profile

Global Innovation Index ranking: 105th

Climate targets:  38 per cent reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 (compared to 2020), net zero by 2050

Sustainability issues

Flooding – Exacerbated by climate change and growing rainfall extremes, Rwanda has experienced an increasing volume of severe floods in recent years. Between 1980 and 2011, flooding impacted over 5.5 million people and resulted directly in economic losses of at least €90 billion.

Deforestation – Largely beginning in the 1994 Rwandan Genocide when refugees cleared trees from the Gishwati Forest for subsistence farming, deforestation has continued to be a major issue within the country. In 2021, Rwanda lost 406 kilohectares of its natural forest, which is equivalent to 852 kilotonnes of carbon dioxide.

Land scarcity – As the most densely populated country in Africa, Rwanda has struggled with a shortage of resources – one of the most pressing being land, with up to 843 people per square kilometre in certain rural areas. Around 90 per cent of Rwandans practice agriculture, but land pressure has caused declining agricultural production.

Sector specialisms

  • – Fintech
  • – Foodtech
  • – Agtech

Source: Startup Blink

Three Exciting Innovations From Rwanda

Transforming waste to products with flies
Photo source Marek Studzinski on Unsplash

TRANSFORMING WASTE TO PRODUCTS USING FLIES

An estimated 2.5 billion tonnes of food is lost on farms or ends up wasted by retailers or consumers each year, and 15.3 per cent of all food produced globally is lost at the farm stage. Of the food wasted, the vast majority consists of fruits, vegetables, and cereals. However, Rwandan startup Magofarm is working to convert some of this waste into protein and organic fertiliser using insects. Read more

Safe water solutions tackling water scarcity
Photo source Joshua Lanzarini on Unsplash

SAFE WATER SOLUTIONS TACKLING WATER SCARCITY

According to UNICEF, around 418 million people in Africa lack a basic drinking water service, and almost 780 million lack basic sanitation. The resulting poor health, and loss of time and money keeps productivity low. For example, women lose around 200 million hours a day walking for water – time they could be using in education or work. Social enterprise Water Access Rwanda is working in many areas to establish affordable and reliable water infrastructure in Africa. Read more

The value of data for African healthcare
Photo credit Kapsule

UNLOCKING THE VALUE OF DATA FOR AFRICAN HEALTHCARE

While there are a number of SaaS products aimed at developing healthcare efficiencies in places like North America and Europe, there are few platforms geared specifically to the needs of African healthcare systems. These systems are often plagued by issues with accessibility and counterfeit medications, among others. Working to change this is Kapsule, a Rwanda-based platform aiming to improve the use of data in African healthcare. Read more

Curated by: Matilda Cox

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