Home Uncategorized President Kagame, First Lady See First Hand What The Future Holds For Rwanda In Robotics And AI

President Kagame, First Lady See First Hand What The Future Holds For Rwanda In Robotics And AI

by Edmund Kagire
2:07 am

President Kagame and the First Lady watch as young students operate their Robotics & AI innovations at the FLL finale. Photos/Urugwiro Village.

President Paul Kagame and the First Lady, Jeannette Kagame, on Saturday, joined multitudes of students at Intare Arena in Rusororo, for the finale of the First LEGO League (FLL) and AI Hackathon, where they witnessed what young aspiring minds are doing to advance robotics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Rwanda and on the African continent.

President Kagame and the First Lady first saw first hand some of the innovations in robotics and artificial intelligence the participating teams were able to build and operate and later  participated in the awarding ceremony, with the Head of State reiterating that robotics and AI are the way to go for fast and sustainable development.

“Robotics and artificial intelligence are outstanding ways to learn science, engineering, technology — and also teamwork. We are very happy with the results of the national robotics program and competition, and the A.I. Hackathon,” President Kagame said, hailing the organisers of the competition.

The Head of State reiterated the importance of robotics and AI in advancing development.

President Kagame committed his own support to such programmes which are aimed at sharpening young minds at a young age, to take up the task and move ahead of the pack in terms of advancing innovations that solve problems in society. As such, he donated a laptop to the winning students, out of his own pocket.

“I want to make a small contribution toward this effort, especially to the participants, Rwandans, people from Botswana, from Nigeria, from Uganda, those who are here with us. I want to give our young people a laptop each, ” President Kagame said, adding that he won’t bother the Ministry of Education with that budget.

Nyanza-based College du Christ-Roi Team 1 emerged as the national champions of the FLL, while the Federal Government College of Nigeria won the international championship award, with the excited winners getting a moment to pose for a photo with the President Kagame and the First Lady.

College du Christ-Roi Team 1 emerged winners at the National level.

Other winners on the day were students from Ecole Secondaire de Kayonza who were declared winners of the AI Hackathon.

The Minister of Education, Gaspard Twagirayezu, said that the competition was organized to encourage students to think innovatively and come up with ideas that can shape the future in terms of technology.

“Robots and AI are new technologies that are taking over the world. We want our students to not only think and innovate but also go ahead and do things that can solve different problems in society.

According to Dr. Nelson Mbarushimana, Director General, Rwanda Education Board (REB), the competition started from the provincial level where teams that showcased good projects progressed to the national level, pointing out that more than 200 AI teams applied and submitted their projects.

“Out of those, only 10 teams were selected to participate in the AI Hackathon. These projects on Artificial Intelligence demonstrated a high-level of critical thinking of our students,” he said, adding that throughout the competition they saw passion and determination among the participating students.

Exciting display of skills characterised the event.

“They have built, coded  and tested their robots while embracing the spirit of collaboration and learning,” reiterating the spirit of teamwork which President Kagame dwelled on.

President Kagame thanked the organisers and partners for putting together the competition, telling them that “what you’ve been doing is of great interest to all of us as a country and our continent generally”.

In a special way President Kagame thanked OneWeb founder Greg Wyler and his Amelia for being “part of us for many years” and are behind such initiatives that are impacting the country.

He congratulated participating countries including Botswana, Nigeria and Uganda, as well as participating teams from Rwanda.

The FLL programme is an internationally recognised initiative that challenges students to explore real-world problems, research solutions, and build and program educational robots to accomplish specific missions, while the AI Hackathon was designed for secondary schools, with the aim of introducing students to the world of artificial intelligence, providing them with hands-on skills to solve real-world challenges using technology and inspiring them to explore the fields of science, technology, engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

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