The 2021 Year in a Review 

COVI9-19 has contributed to a challenging series of years since its outbreak in 2020. AIMS as an institution has not been an exception and has faced several issues since then. Some include remote working and travel bans that hindered students and staff from travelling smoothly across countries. This affected AIMS because of its nature as a pan-African institute that receives renowned faculty members worldwide. 

In addition, even though a big chunk of the population got vaccinated, the high rate of deaths remained, and the loss undoubtedly affected many. However, despite all the challenges that came with the pandemic, the AIMS community, students, and faculty beat all odds, emerged more robust, and executed many exciting projects. Here are a few highlights that we celebrated from 2021!

AIMS Global CEO Ms Lydie Hakizimana Wins Francophone Woman of the Year Award

On 21st July 2021, Lydie Hakizimana, AIMS CEO received the Francophone Woman of the Year Award from the Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, during the 41st Congress of Francophone Mayors and the General Assembly of the International Association of Francophone Mayors (AIMF) in Kigali, Rwanda.

“Together, we can change the world. I invite you to dream with me,” she said.

Congratulations once again, Lydie.

Lydie Hakizimana after receiving Francophone Woman of the Year Award

Financial Afrik placed Lydie Hakizimana (AIMS CEO) among the 7 Women Leaders representing gender emancipation in Africa.

We are committed to increasing women in STEM through our different programs. Seeing our CEO, Lydie Hakizimana being recognized as one of the seven women leaders representing gender emancipation in Africa is an honour. It reminders us of how immensely important it is to keep pushing the edge of what’s possible in creating Africa in which scientific excellence is possible for all.

AIMS Global Graduation

AIMS graduated 191 students (32% women) from completing the AIMS Master’s in Mathematical Sciences across its network! It required hard work and relentlessness to make it through our Master’s program in 2021. Despite the uncertainty caused by COVID19, these students victoriously made it! The grit and tenacity of our students continue to leave us in awe! We are very proud and happy to have been part of their professional journey.   

AIMS partnered in the “App Challenge Afrique” competition organized by France 24 and RFI.

The Challenge App Afrique is a competition aimed at developing innovative mobile or web solutions. It is organized by France Médias Monde through the programs “ 7 billion neighbours”, and through the competition, AIMS and partnerships, are promoting the emergence of digital solutions, useful for the education of children in Africa.

Participation in the Pan-African Mathematics Olympiad (PAMO)

For the first time, with the help of AIMS Rwanda, six Rwandan high school students participated in Africa’s most prestigious mathematics competition, PAMO. The team brought home three bronze medals. They emerged in the first position in the East African region and the 7th on the continent. 

“For a first-time team, the average score is often close to zero because Olympiads are complicated. Rwanda’s performance is an amazing success story that highlights the mathematical potential of this country,” reflects Jessica Weitbrecht, Tutor at AIMS Rwanda and PAMO 2020 Team Rwanda coach. 

Team Rwanda to PAMO2021 – Highlight

AIMS Launches Ishango Data Science & AI Fellowship Program

In September 2021, AIMS and ISHANGO launched the Data Science & AI Fellowship Program at AIMS Rwanda. The main goal of this fellowship is to boost African data science graduates’ employment prospects through a fully funded, three-month fellowship program. For three months, fourteen AIMS alumni (seven women and men) were equipped with technical and soft skills. They worked remotely on value-adding projects for international organizations, preparing them for global jobs.  

“To implement the AIMS vision, we need well-trained Africans in emerging technologies. AIMS has demonstrated, over the years, that offering world-class training in Africa for bright Africans is a possibility.”- Prof. Sam Yala, AIMS Rwanda Centre President. “It is also essential that our alumni stay on the continent to contribute to the transformation of Africa.”

Teacher Appreciation Campaign 

Last November, Rwanda’s Teacher Training Program (TTP) partnered with the Ministry of Education, Airtel Rwanda, and Chancen International to launch a three-week Teacher Appreciation Campaign. The campaign led the public to appreciate Rwandan teachers for their impact on the Rwandan community. 

“So far, we have trained over 4000 teachers in the gender-responsive pedagogy to improve learning outcomes in mathematics and #STEM for secondary school students. Today, we celebrate our most important people – our teachers,” Dr Herine Otieno-Menya, Director of TTP Rwanda. 

Milestones from around our community

Nothing brings us joy than seeing our alumni, scientists, and researchers win. As we look back to 2021, we would like to acknowledge the achievements of the people in our scientific community who are pushing the edge of what’s possible.  

Our alumni, Patricia Azike Oluchi and Sandra Rebecca Babyale, recently won a $550,000 grant to model the transport of wildfire smoke. Azike is enrolled in Boise State’s doctoral Computing program. Babyale is currently working at AIMS in Rwanda and will also start her Boise State doctorate in computing in spring 2022.

In October, four of our alumni, including Belona Sonna, were listed, by African Shapers, among the 80 African Women advancing Artificial Intelligence in Africa and globally. 

On October 28, 2021, CIO Mag published an article about Abel Ajibesin, AIMS South Africa Alumni, ranking him among the 20 young African talents in the innovation field on the continent. bel Ajibesin is the co-founder of Adexmok Best Practice Consulting (AJISAQ Limited), a company that concentrates on innovative technology offering homemade Electronic Devices of international standards. They also offer Security Solutions, Automation and ICT Services to corporate bodies, governments, institutions and individuals.

Our community continues to lead the advancement of AI worldwide. ANALYTICS INSIGHT recently listed Moustapha Cissé as one of the Top 10 AI Thought Leaders and Influencers to Follow in 2021. Moustapha is the Founder and Director of the African Master’s in Machine Intelligence. The program is a fully-funded one-year intensive graduate program that provides brilliant young Africans with state-of-the-art training in machine learning and its applications.  

We also congratulate Dr Mouhamadou Bamba Sylla & Dr Nana Ama Browne Klutse for contributing as lead authors to 2021’s IPCC Climate Change report. e are very proud of their contribution to solving one of the most pressing global issues – climate change. 

Dr. Mouhamadou Bamba Sylla on climate change

To close the year, the AIMS community in Rwanda gathered at the ONOMO hotel to celebrate the End of Year Party. 

“I am grateful to be part of this huge and amazing family that AIMS is. hank you to all of you for taking the time, for working hard, for supporting the students, and for going the extra mile every single day,” Lydie Hakizimana, AIMS CEO!   

AIMS End of Year Party