Rwanda now has opened its first publicly funded coding school. It may be Africa’s first publicly funded coding scho. By Alvine Chaparadza, Zimbabwe



Rwanda is not backing down from its promise of wanting to be a knowledge-based economy. What better way to show this commitment than opening a public coding school? Indeed, Rwanda now has opened its first publicly funded coding school. I would want to even go as far as to declare that it may be Africa’s first publicly funded coding school.

The school will accept students who would have excelled in STEM courses (Science Technology Engineering And Mathematics). According to Rwanda’s ICT Minister,  Rwanda is seeking to do away with foreign labor on tech jobs in the future that’s why it has taken this giant step of launching this coding school.

to build a knowledge-based economy and nurture our young people to meet the in-demand skills needed to compete at the top of the ever-evolving world. We will link them with respective industries and some top tech-companies locally and internationally for further growth, after the three years training……. this coding school will promote excellence in our ICT sector and reduce government expenditure on reliance on foreign companies to provide us with tech solutions.

It may seem like there shouldn’t be much noise to make but its a big deal to see not only a government but an African government investing 4 million US dollars for a coding school. Even the world over, there a countable number of governments who have done what Rwanda has done. More often than not, funding of coding schools is done by the private sector which is why the Rwandan government should be given a round of applause.

This coding school is not the first time the Rwandan government has shown that it’s really serious with technology. In July last year, the Rwandan government partnered with Andela, an American company that specializes in training software developers to train Rwandans developers. As if that’s not enough, the Rwandan government also launched an innovation fund that finances the country’s youths with their tech research and innovation.

Something worth for Zim to copy isnt it?

What Rwanda is something that Zimbabwe should feel proud copying, dont you agree? Yes, we have had initiatives like the POTRAZ Innovation Fund but I can’t say they have really been helpful. Ok wait. I guess it was helpful for that time to those startups that got funding but its effect was (is) not long lasting. It’s things like having coding schools that can have long-lasting effects as the country would keep having a never-ending supply of coders and developers.

I think what has made Zimbabwe lag in these kind launching these kind of initiatives is more than just the unavailability of financial resources. But partly its because we have very old-school bunch of leaders leading in critical institutions such that typically they are skeptical to promote things like building a coding schools (for instance) or developing emerging technologies. Their skepticism stems for the fear that some technologies will take people’s jobs or that it will take power from them. If you need a bit of convincing that young people can be directly related to tech advancement just time travel a decade ago when we had a young minister in our government who happened to be the Minister of ICT.

Also, more than financial resources there must be a political will for Zimbabwe to have a coding school for instance or to be receptive of emerging tech trends. I believe much of Rwanda’s recent technology developments are owed to the political will of its president, Paul Kagame who some have been calling a benevolent dictator.  If having a website, Twitter account and WhatsApp is anything to go by, then I think that, in comparison, to Robert Mugabe, President Mnagwanga seem to be (just a bit) more tech-curious (not tech savvy). So I guess it’s sensible to hope that he may someday copy what Rwanda has done, right?