Kigali, Rwanda -“Agriculture is a critical driver of Africa’s economic growth. But we have not yet unlocked its full potential,” in a powerful address at the graduation ceremony of the Rwanda Institute of Conservation Agriculture (RICA), President Paul Kagame has said. He issued a rallying cry to the nation’s young graduates, urging them to harness the untapped potential of agriculture as a pivotal driver of economic growth in Africa.
Agriculture has long been recognized as a fundamental pillar of Africa’s economy, providing livelihoods for most of the population and contributing significantly to the continent’s GDP. However, the full potential of this sector remains largely unexplored. President Kagame highlighted this crucial gap, challenging the graduates to identify and tackle pressing issues within the agricultural landscape.
“Graduates, in this context, I challenge you to identify a problem, give it your full attention, and make it your purpose to solve it,” President Kagame proclaimed to the enthusiastic crowd of fresh graduates. His call to action underscores the need for innovative solutions to longstanding challenges that have hindered the sector’s progress, such as inefficient farming practices, limited access to modern technologies, and inadequate market infrastructure.
Acknowledging the inevitable setbacks accompanying such transformative endeavors, President Kagame emphasized the role of vision in propelling young graduates forward. “Having a vision is often the difference between giving up and persevering,” he noted. This sentiment resonated deeply with the audience, reflecting Rwanda’s remarkable journey from a post-conflict nation to a beacon of progress and innovation.
The Rwanda Institute of Conservation Agriculture (RICA) stands as a testament to Rwanda’s commitment to agricultural advancement. The institution, founded with the aim of equipping future agricultural leaders with the skills and knowledge needed to drive sustainable change, has produced a new generation of graduates poised to take on the challenges outlined by President Kagame.
In response to President Kagame’s call, several RICA graduates have already begun to chart their courses toward transforming Rwanda’s agricultural landscape. From pioneering agrotech startups that leverage data and automation to enhance farming practices, to community-driven initiatives that empower smallholder farmers with modern techniques, these graduates are turning vision into action.
The graduation ceremony was a vibrant celebration of the graduates’ achievements and commitment to addressing the agricultural sector’s most pressing issues. As they step into the professional world, armed with a sense of purpose and determination, these young graduates are poised to contribute to Rwanda’s continued economic growth through sustainable agricultural development.