Dr. Claire Karekezi is the first female Neurosurgeon in Rwanda. She graduated as a Doctor of Medicine from the College of Medicine and Health Sciences at the University of Rwanda.

She completed her Neurosurgical training at the Rabat Training Center for African Neurosurgeons, Mohamed V University of Rabat, World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies (Morocco), and graduated in 2016.

Early Life

Karekezi was born in Butare, Rwanda. Mr.  Karekezi Sr., her father, was a telecommunications engineer, and Mrs. Musine, her mother, was a high school teacher. Karekezi grew up in Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda, where she and her two older siblings received their early education. She enjoyed science as a child, and after sixth grade in elementary school, she majored in mathematics and physics in high school.

She met the admissions criteria for medical school and studied general medicine in Butare at the University of Rwanda College of Medicine and Health Sciences, graduating as an MD in March 2009. During her time in Butare, Karekezi had her first exposure to neurosurgery, an experience that changed the course of her life.

She was further enrolled in several neurosurgical fellowships with a special interest in Neuro-Oncology and Skull Base Surgery at the Brigham & Women’s Hospital, a teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School (Massachusetts, USA) International Visiting Surgeon Fellow.

Career Path

Dr Karekezi later completed a Clinical Fellowship in Neuro-Oncology & Skull Base Surgery at the University of Toronto, Toronto Western Hospital (Canada) before returning to Rwanda in August of 2018 to become the country’s first female Neurosurgeon.

She is currently a Consultant Neurosurgeon at Rwanda Military Hospital. She also serves as the Chair of the African Women in Neurosurgery (AWIN) and is a member of multiple national and international neurosurgical societies.

Karekezi has led numerous projects on the history of women in neurosurgery and their current status on the African continent, highlighting the underrepresentation of women in leadership positions and academic neurosurgery, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa. She continues to raise awareness about the need for more experienced female neurosurgeons in order to assist other young women in overcoming various obstacles inherent to the field. She is also an advocate and inspiration for other young women who wish to pursue STEM fields (science, engineering, technology, and mathematics)

We celebrate you Dr. Claire Karekezi

In 2020, it was the only African country ranked in the top 10 of the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report.

It ranked in the top four in the Report’s political empowerment category, in recognition of the high proportion of Rwandese women lawmakers and ministers.

The country therefore seemed a natural fit for a 2018 pilot program of the African Development Bank’s Coding for Employment initiative, with Nigeria, Kenya, Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal.

The Coding for Employment flagship program is establishing 130 ICT centers for excellence in Africa, training 234,000 youths for employability and entrepreneurship to create over 9 million jobs.

Hendrina C. Doroba, Manager in the Education, Human Capital and Employment Division at the Bank, explains how Rwanda is empowering women in technology.

How has the government of Rwanda enabled women to pursue careers in technology, and STEM in general?

The government of Rwanda has been a foremost champion of women in ICT and in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (also known as STEM), by driving initiatives like the establishment of the Carnegie Mellon University-Africa campus, for which the Bank provided funding. Students from 17 different countries pursue highly specialized ICT skills at the Africa campus.

The country also hosts the African Institute of Mathematics (AIMS) which is now recruiting balanced cohorts of women and men. Lastly, the Bank-funded University of Rwanda College of Science and Technology has for many years produced women leaders in the ICT sector in Rwanda and globally.

Rwanda’s government also supports initiatives such as the Miss Geek Rwanda competition, an initiative of Girls in ICT Rwanda, which aims to encourage school-age girls, even those in remote areas, to develop innovative tech or business ideas and to generally immerse themselves in ICT. The Miss Geek initiative has now been rolled out in other countries in the region.

What role has the Bank played in supporting Rwanda’s digital strategy, especially in relation to women?

The strategy of the Bank’s Coding for Employment center of excellence in Rwanda has been to join forces with the Rwanda Coding Academy through a grant agreement to support the school’s activities, like ICT equipment, teacher training and career orientation. The Rwanda Coding Academy started in January 2019 and has so far enrolled one cohort, which is now going into their second year.

Besides the Rwanda Coding Academy, the Bank’s Coding for Employment program held a two-day masterclass for girls and young women entrepreneurs at the 2018 Youth Conneckt summit, where over 200 beneficiaries were trained in using digital tools to amplify their businesses. The session was attended by women entrepreneurs as well as students from girl schools in Kigali, including those from White Dove School, which is an all-girl school fully dedicated to training in ICT. The masterclass culminated into a pitching exercises from various groups who presented their ideas to a panel of judges.

What lessons can other African countries learn from Rwanda’s approach to the 4IR, in particular the role of women?

The government of Rwanda has been a trailblazer in using innovation to improve public services across the country using the e-governance platform Irembo, to bring government services closer to citizens. In addition, the government is driving national digital skilling campaigns by championing digital ambassador programs and platforms such as Smart Africa, which has organized the annual Transform Africa summit since 2013.

Still, gender equality remains a concern, and gender gaps are evident even in schools. Rwanda’s ambitions extend to piloting the Kigali Innovation City, also Bank-funded, to serve as the country’s knowledge and innovation hub by attracting new businesses and incubating ideas. At the same time, the country has created a business environment which is pro-entrepreneurship and welcomes global inventors to test their ideas and concepts. Zipline, a company which uses drones to deliver medical supplies in remote areas, is one example.

Lastly, Rwanda promotes women leaders in the ICT and innovation sector. The country’s Minister of ICT and Innovation is a woman, as is the CEO of the Irembo platform. Appointments such as these are helping to dispel the myth that women are not as capable as men in ICT.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of African Development Bank Group (AfDB).

In Rwanda, a traditional sexual practice almost guarantees female orgasm when done right. Female pleasure is not shunned but celebrated here. When contextualized to the current world realities, kunyaza is the height of equality in the bedroom.

Kunyaza: The Sensual Rwandan Tradition Which Guarantees Explosive Female Orgasms

 Photograph: Trevor Cole/Unsplash

Africa’s first “Made in Africa” smartphones are here, and being made in Rwanda!

Africa's First Smartphone Factory Opens in Rwanda

 Rwanda Opens Africa’s First Smartphone Factory.

On the occasion of International Women’s Day (IWD) celebrated this March 8 around the world, several voices are rising to claim better places for women. In most countries, it is difficult to find a parity. But in Africa, there is one exception: Rwanda.

With more than 61% of women in the Chamber of Deputies, the country is at the top of the world rankings. A country that remains a model in several fields.

But in the case of women’s representation in the Assembly, it is a reference case. While they already had a respectable place in some key institutions, women saw their numbers increase in recent elections in 2013.

Of the 80 seats in the Rwandan Parliament, 51 are occupied by women. Since 2008, Rwanda has been at the top of the IPU (Interparliamentary Union) world ranking of women in national parliaments.

An important place reserved for women which is the fruit of several initiatives taken for decades. After the 1994 genocide that killed 800,000 people, several laws that have been adopted, go in favor of parity.

For illustration, the new Constitution adopted in 2003 establishes as a fundamental principle the equality between men and women with “the attribution of at least 30% of the posts to the women in the decision-making institutions of the State”.

Since then, the electoral system has been respected to the letter with 24 seats reserved for women. These are chosen, in theory, on non-partisan bases, by colleges and councils at the local and national levels.

Despite prejudices, it must be recognized that it was the Rwandan women themselves who had to struggle to win.

Zura Karuhimbi has a reputation for using magical powers, because of this awareness about her, she is able to save a multitude over a 100-day period of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

Sometimes when Hutu militias would visit her home in search of the targeted Tutsis, Zura Karuhimbi will scare them with a promise of a ruthless death if they dared to come close. - Women's News Agency

Sometimes when Hutu militias would visit her home in search of the targeted Tutsis, Zura Karuhimbi will scare them with a promise of a ruthless death if they dared to come close. – Women’s News Agency

Hutu rebels had a tough time gaining access to scared Tutsis she was hiding in her home. In the month of April during the year earlier mentioned, the plane of Juvenal Habyarimana the country’s president is shot down and results in his death.

This sparked fierce violence in Rwanda where the favoured Tutsis are the main targets. But Zura Karuhimbi is menacing enough to hold attackers who stormed her residence in search of more blood to shed.

The feared Karuhimbi died on Monday, December 17, 2018, according to the BBC News. Before her passing, she tells of experiencing the bitterness in human beings during the unforgettable mass killings.

“During the genocide, I saw the darkness of a man’s heart,” two decades after the massacre, The East African learns from her.

In a report published by the BBC five days after Zura Karuhimbi’s death, she passes away in a village in Musamo located in the east of Kigali. Official documents suggest that she is 93 years old but by her own account, she might be a lot more.

Recent developments reveals that the French authorities have dropped a probe into the plane crash that killed Rwanda’s former president Juvenal Habyarimana on April 6, 1994.

AFP News confirms from a legal source on Wednesday, December 26, 2018, that judges decide to halt the case due to a lack of evidence. The decision is made five days prior according to reports.



Credit: Pulse, AFP News

Out of 80 parliamentary seats in Rwanda, women occupy 54 seats, which is 67.5%. The new record was set after the National Electoral Commission announced the September 3 parliamentary elections results, which saw President Kagame’s party, RPF sweeping 74% of the total vote and taking 40 seats.

By contrast, women in the Nigerian House of Assembly and the Senate make up less than 10% of all the representatives.

While Rwanda is a world leader for women in politics, no woman has managed to become President. Two have tried unsuccessfully, and the last one who tried, Diane Rwigara, is now facing 20years in prison.

Though President Kagame places value on women’s roles and spearheaded many reforms to help build women’s capacity in civil society, his dictatorial government is still limiting women’s – and human – rights.
Credit: konbini.com