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Rwanda Seeds Growth with $2M Agritech Support Facility

Rwanda has unveiled a $2 million funding initiative aimed at providing financial and technical support to agritech startups. The Hanga Agritech Innovation Challenge Fund, a collaborative effort between the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources and the World Bank, is set to address food-related challenges and propel innovation in East Africa.

Yves Iradukundau, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of ICT and Innovation, announced this transformative initiative during the Hanga Pitchfest 2023, the largest in-person technology competition in Rwanda. This annual event serves as a catalyst for inspiring and igniting innovation within the country’s startup ecosystem.

Norman Schräpel, the Head of Cluster Digital Transformation and Digital Economy at the German Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ), applauded the launch of the Hanga Agritech Innovation Challenge Fund, describing it as an “exciting new opportunity for innovators aiming to revolutionize agriculture in Rwanda.”

Hanga Pitchfest: Nurturing Global Tech Talent

The Hanga Pitchfest, renowned as the largest technology competition in Rwanda, recently concluded its third iteration. The event gathered 1,000 youth from around the world in Kigali for a week-long innovation lab, focusing on addressing global challenges and contributing to sustainable solutions for the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In a thrilling competition, Rwandan climate tech startup, Loopa, emerged as the overall winner, securing a cash prize of Rwf50 million ($39,700) among other accolades. Loopa leverages Internet of Things (IoT) technology to optimize the conversion of food waste and agricultural byproducts into nutrient-rich organic fertilizer. This innovative approach not only assists farmers in transitioning from inorganic to organic fertilizer affordably but also contributes to higher yields.

Cynthia Umutoniwabo, the Chief Executive and Founder at Loopa, expressed their commitment to transforming waste management through innovative circular economy solutions. Loopa’s approach has gained recognition for providing a distinctive method to reduce Rwanda’s reliance on imported fertilizers.

Agritech Revolution in Africa: Rwanda Takes the Lead

The launch of the Hanga Agritech Innovation Challenge Fund marks a significant milestone in Africa, affirming Rwanda’s commitment to fostering technological advancements in agriculture. With a focus on financial and technical support for agritech startups, this initiative is poised to unlock a wave of innovation that addresses pressing food-related challenges, contributing to sustainable agricultural practices in the region.

As Rwanda plants the seeds of growth with this $2 million facility, the global spotlight shines on the nation’s dedication to cultivating a thriving agritech ecosystem. This initiative not only propels Rwanda to the forefront of agricultural innovation but also sets a precedent for the transformative power of technology in shaping the future of farming on the African continent.

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