The Africa Institute of Neu-Ulm University of Applied Sciences was awarded a grant for a joint project with the University of Rwanda and the companies SINA GERARD Ese URWIBUTSO, Sharkbite Innovation GmbH and En-Crops GmbH.
The topic is the establishment of circular economy in the Rwandan agricultural sector. According to the EllenMacArthur Foundation, circular economy pursues the idea of "creating cradle-to-cradle value cycles instead of linear value chains that mimic the natural ecological processes of decomposition and growth to avoid waste and optimize the life cycles of products and materials" (Ellen MacArthur Foundation, 2017). There is great potential in Rwandan agriculture to ensure sustainable development through circular economy.
News master's program: Circular Agro-Economics
With the support of Neu-Ulm University of Applied Sciences, which specializes, among other things, in business model development for circular economy, the University of Rwanda aims to introduce an interdisciplinary master's program that combines circular economy, agricultural economics, and applied entrepreneurship: M.Sc. Circular Agro-Economics. This will be flanked by part-time micro-certificates for practitioners. The study program uses a blended learning concept: theory is taught via e-learning, and practical skills are trained in small groups on site. The development of the degree program is accompanied by applied research projects in the development of circular-based business models in agriculture and mentoring of young entrepreneurs. The first cohort is scheduled to start in 2023.
Cooperation with three Rwandan companies
To ensure the greatest possible practical relevance, the two universities are supported by three companies. Sina Gerard is a company based in Nyirangarama, about 45 km from Kigali, that processes agricultural produce into food products such as baked goods, juice, dairy products, etc.
Sharkbite Innovation is a business consultancy with a focus on sustainability and social justice, and experience in economic cooperation with African countries.
En-Crops manufactures biological soil amendments and finished soils based on a formulation of geominerals, humic substances, extracts and biomass, as well as organic and biological residues, such as farmyard manure, green waste, fish waste, etc.... These can be produced worldwide using local materials through a special manufacturing process and are used to recultivate degraded soils and establish cropland in arid zones. The manufacturing process shortens the rotting process of organic and biological residues from months to minutes and destroys harmful loads.