Powerful Partnership to Catalyse Rwanda’s Bioeconomy Advancement for Sustainable Growth

Durban, South Africa – Recently, during the Bio Africa Convention, UVU Bio announced a transformative partnership and project that is set to reshape Rwanda’s bioeconomy landscape, paving the way for sustainable growth, job creation, and innovation. UVU Bio, in strategic collaboration with the University of Rwanda, the Ministry of Education of Rwanda and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), is embarking on a dynamic project with the potential to revolutionise the region’s bioeconomic trajectory. 

Africa’s bioeconomy possesses immense potential to drive economic growth across diverse sectors, from agriculture and pharmaceuticals to green technology and biofuels. Recognising this untapped potential, the partnership places collaboration at its core, capitalising on the strengths of each partner to address critical challenges and foster transformation. 

This alliance brings together UVU Bio’s experience in catalyzing bioeconomy startups, the University of Rwanda’s academic excellence, and GIZ’s expertise in capacity development. The result is a synergistic ecosystem designed to produce tangible outcomes and propel Rwanda’s bioeconomy into new dimensions.   

Our journey with the bioeconomy in Southern Africa has shown us that collaboration is the basis of progress. This partnership signifies our commitment to nurturing innovation, accelerating business growth, and empowering aspiring entrepreneurs. Together, we can drive Rwanda’s bioeconomy to unprecedented heights.” – says Dheepak Maharajh, Executive Director of UVU Bio. 

At the heart of the project lies three key outcomes: 

Empowering with Skills and Infrastructure: The establishment of the Rwandan Bioeconomy Skills Development and Acceleration Centre promises to upskill individuals with specialized competencies, essential for the biotechnology and pharmaceutical sectors. With access to world-class training and laboratory facilities, aspiring professionals can fuel innovation and drive economic growth. 

Bridging Skills Gaps: The skills development programme aligns youth with the evolving demands of the bioeconomy. By honing industry-specific skills, the project equips individuals with the expertise necessary to thrive in the evolving market landscape. 

Accelerating Business Ventures: The business acceleration programme empowers startups and entrepreneurs with workshops, mentorship, and technical assistance, propelling innovative ideas toward market readiness. By providing access to laboratory infrastructure, the project catalyzes the transformation of concepts into thriving businesses. 

Education is the cornerstone of progress and development. This collaboration between UVU Bio, the Ministry of Education of Rwanda, the University of Rwanda, and GIZ marks a transformative step towards equipping our youth with the skills and knowledge needed to shape Rwanda’s bioeconomy future. By fostering innovation and entrepreneurship through this initiative, we are preparing our young generation to lead Rwanda’s journey towards sustainable growth and prosperity.” – Hon. Claudette Irere, Minister of State for Education of the Government of Rwanda 

Aligned with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), this partnership stands as a beacon of sustainable development. By promoting entrepreneurship, creating jobs, and fostering economic activity, the project actively contributes to eliminating poverty, ensuring good health and well-being, and promoting industry innovation. 

As a testament to the power of collaboration, the Rwanda Bioeconomy Skills Development and Acceleration Hub exemplifies the potential for partnership-driven change. By harnessing the strengths of each of the partners, the project is poised to drive not only economic growth but also a culture of innovation, entrepreneurship, and sustainable development. 

Sustainable development requires collaborative efforts. This partnership aligns with our commitment to promoting positive change and driving sustainable economic growth.” – Ralf Elben, Head of Component “Support to the pharmaceutical and biotechnological sector in Rwanda”, GIZ Rwanda. 

A key step to retain Rwanda’s competitiveness as one of the top countries to do business on the continent is ensuring that sufficient support mechanisms are available to support small and large business partners. The availability of STEM skills development initiatives with world-class training and R&D laboratories, business incubation and acceleration programmes to stimulate emerging businesses are key enablers and the reason behind this project. The state-of-the-art laboratory is aimed to be open for use at the University of Rwanda based in Kigali by March 2024 with the first cohorts starting their entrepreneurial journey shortly after. 

“The bioeconomy represents a transformative force that has the potential to uplift lives across Africa. By harnessing the power of biotechnology, we can not only create economic growth but also address critical challenges and bring about positive, population-level change. This partnership signifies a resolute commitment to building a future where innovation drives progress, enabling Africa to flourish.” – Ian Merrington, Chairperson, UVU Bio Board. 

Fiona Tabraham

Fiona Tabraham is a strategic workforce development expert with a career founded on a resolute commitment to inclusivity, talent nurturing, and societal impact. Chief Executive of CAPACITI Digital Career Accelerator, Fiona’s passion for equity has charted pathways across numerous organisations, guiding bespoke Talent Initiatives, Future Leadership Development Programs, and transformative Career Pathway Development. Her tenure at Network Rail bore inclusive talent strategies, STEM advocacy, and innovative Graduate, Apprentice, and Internship initiatives. A trusted partner to a number of governmental, corporate and impact driven entities, Fiona empowers individuals and organisations, fostering diverse recruitment practices and innovative talent strategies. Fiona’s impact transcends the tech sector, positioning her as a leading voice for inclusive digital career initiatives.