28th October 2019 @Mount Kenya University
Theme : Role of youth in Establishing Rwanda as a Globally Competitive Knowledge base Economy

1. Introduction

The Economic Policy Research Network held its third Annual Students’ Conference and Competition at Mount Kenya University on 28th October 2019.

The conference was centered on a topic that sought to address “Role of youth in Establishing Rwanda as a Globally Competitive Knowledge base Economy”. The conference more-than 100 students from different Universities with representatives from EPRN, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and Mount Kenya University.

2. Conference Highlights

a. Opening

The conference started with welcoming remarks of, Acting Principal of Mount Kenya University, Marceline Kamande who stressed the relevance of EPRN’s student activities to the interests of students. She advised students to actively participate in research opportunities that are presented to them. As a senior member of EPRN, Dr. Mercelyn Kamande also encouraged students to engage in EPRN activities as she pointed out potential benefits associated with actively engaging in EPRN’s activities.
EPRN’s Legal representative, Dr. Charles Ruranga also gave his opening remarks. He pointed out the benefits of being part of EPRN’s network and also stressed how imperative it was for young researchers to actively engage in EPRN’s research activities. He thanked the host organisation for hosting the conference and also thanked everyone who attended the conference.

b. Competition

a. Selection process of papers

  • Early 2019, EPRN announced a call for abstracts.
  • About 20 abstracts have been received.
  • 15 of them have been selected to go for further development. The authors of 15 paper had a training in Research Methodology delivered by a senior EPRN member, Eduard Musabanganji
  • After more than 3 months of paper writing, only 3 papers have been submitted in full and EPRN decided to use them for presentations and awards
  • Selected topics : Challenges affecting youth in fostering ICT use for development in Rwanda, Assessment of Local Contents and Facilitation to Citizens (including People with Disabilities) to Access Digital Devices that Will Enable them use Online Services
  • The three full papers have been presented by authors and a selection committee ranked them : 1st, 2nd, 3rd
  • The selection committee was made of : Willis Okul (Independent senior EPRN member), Agnes Uzarerwa (GIZ/MIP) and Seth Kwizera (EPRN)

Proceedings of presentation of the three papers :

The conference featured three presentations from students of University of Rwanda but from different campuses. Each presenter was allocated 10 minutes to present and an extra 10 minutes to receive question, comments and supplements. The presentation sought to address the role of youth in establishing Rwanda as globally competitive knowledge based economy and the winning papers would be selected by a panel of lead researchers from EPRN AND GIZ. The following were the students
that presented during the conference including topics of their Research :

Table for Winners of the Research Paper Presentation.

1 CHARLES BYABAGABO Africa Continental Free Trade Area-Rwanda’s Comparative Advantages with much focus on its Exports. 300,000Rwf
2 SIMEON SIBOMANA Effect of Africa Openness of Goods and Services Markets to pollution Concentrations in Rwanda 100,000Rwf
3 JEAN MARIE VIANNEY SEBANANI The African Continental Free Trade Area : Rwanda’s Comparative Advantages 50,000Rwf

This session was followed by a competition where competitors from different groups that won on regional level competed against each other to win the overall first place as EPRN student chapter National champions. Panelists facilitated in choosing the best among the contestants : -, Mr. Seth Kwizera, Coordinator at EPRN, Mr. Ndakubwimana Jean-Bosco, Lecturer at University of Rwanda and Charles Kamuru-Public Relations and communication manager at University of Kigali facilitated this sessions. The winners are shown in the table below.

Awarded students at Quiz Competition

1 Godwin Shema Challenges affecting youth in fostering ICT use for development in Rwanda 300,000Rwf
2 Felicien Niyomugabo Assessment of Local Contents and Facilitation to Citizens (including People With Disabilities) to Access Digital Devices that Will Enable them use Online Services. 100,000Rwf
3 Mwiza Sharifa Youths in e-commerce and their role in creating future employment. 50,000Rwf

Selection process of Groups

  • Early 2019, EPRN encourages students’ members to register teams/groups willing to compete under debate/quiz competition.
  • EPRN received 13 groups : In total 13 groups competed : Young researchers (UR CAVM), COHORT Group (UR CAVM), EASTERN WIZARDS (UR Nyagatare), HUMEAN GROUP (UR Rukara campus), BIRD GROUP (UR CAVM), MAGNIFICENCE Group (UR Huye), VISIONARIES (UNILAC), TIGER Group (AUCA), LION Group (AUCA), JUNIOR RESEARCHERS (UR Huye), WINNERS GROUP (UNILAC Kigali), FRIENDZ GROUP (MKU) and DREAM GROUP (UoK)
  • On Monday 21/10/2019, a first round held at UR CBE Gikondo campus, and judges were : Willis Okul and Seth Kwizera. Four groups have been selected to compete at national level : Young Researchers, Cohort Group, Visionaries and Rukara Campus
  • On 28/10/2019, the four grouse competed to have the three to be awarded.

    Proceeding for the Group Quiz competition :

The conference proceeded to another highly anticipated activity which involved a quiz competition about the most pressing economic issues in the country. The competition had 12 participants from 4 different Universities grouped in bundles of three. The competition featured Senior EPRN Members ; Willis Okul, senior researcher from Kenya, Agnes Uzarerwa, representative from GIZ and EPRN’s coordinator Seth Kwizera. These participating groups emerged from previous competitions and they had been selected as the best to compete at National level. The groups involved in the competition included :

Table of Winners of Quiz Competition

Position Group name University Award
1 Cohort Group University of Rwanda (CAVM) 500,000Rwf
2 Young Researchers University of Rwanda (CAVM) 200,000Rwf
3 Visionaries UNILAK 100,000Rwf

3. Conclusion

After awarding the winners of the quiz competition and paper presentations, a representative from Mount Kenya University gave closing remarks where he stressed the importance of youth engaging in research and acquainting themselves with the issues that affect the country’s economy.

Conference ended with a networking session where lunch was served to all participants that attended the conference. EPRN would like to thank everyone who managed to grace the conference with their attendance.