The New Times (Kigali)

22 April 2014

Rwanda: Team Agristars Wins Imagine Cup Competitions

Team Agristars, from the University of Rwanda's College of Science and Technology, emerged the best in this year's Microsoft Imagine Cup competition.

Imagine Cup is a student competition that centres on the use of imagination, creativity and technology to help solve some of the world's toughest challenges.

The competition, the first of its kind in Rwanda, attracted participants from various institutions such as the University of Rwanda's College of Science and Technology, Adventist University of Central Africa, Integrated Polytechnic Regional Centre (IPRC) Kigali, and Tumba College of Technology among others.

A total of seven teams participated in the competitions, held over the weekend.

"After analysing, one is able to tell what nutrients are in the soil and what crops are suitable to be grown on that particular piece of land," explained Dieudonne Ukurikiyeyesu, a member of the winning team.

The team will go on to present their Agriculture based solution, a software application they developed which analyses the fertility of the soil by simply taking a picture of the soil and then subjecting the sample to labaratory analysis.

The team, made up of four fourth-year students pursuing Bachelors in Computer Engineering, emerged winners after scooping awards in the world citizenship and gaming categories.

As part of Microsoft's YouthSpark initiative, Imagine Cup is a way for young entrepreneurs, innovators and developers to have the opportunity to develop an idea, create a product, and set a clear business plan that will take their product to the market.

The first runners-up, the Dafy Team, from the Adventist University of Central Africa, won the innovation category and each member of the team walked away with a smart phone.

Dafy Team will, alongside Agristars, compete in the Imagine Cup World Semifinals, scheduled for next month after which 10 winning teams from Africa will be selected to participate in the finals in Seattle, United States of America in July this year.

"We are so excited to have the opportunity to represent Rwanda at the semi finals," said Ukurikiyeyesu.

"Each team that competed deserves recognition for the creativity and imagination applied to some of the world's biggest challenges. We are proud to honour these young students who we believe truly exemplify the spirit of the Imagine Cup competition," said Eric Odipo, General Manager for Microsoft East and Southern Africa.

"Imagine Cup is also directly aligned with the Microsoft4Afrika Initiative launched earlier this year as it drives access to technology, innovation and world-class skills. We believe technology can accelerate growth for Africa, and Africa can also accelerate technology for the world," he added.

Theogene Kayumba, director of ICT at the Ministry of Education, thanked Microsoft for patnering with the ministry to improve the quality of education in the country.

"These students have proved that they are working hard, something that would encourage other students to also work hard and participate in future competitions," he said.

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