Rwanda’s Entrepreneurial President
Dr. Josh Ruxin is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Public Health at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University and Founder of Rwanda Works.
Dr. Ruxin's work focuses on comprehensive approaches to fighting poverty with emphasis on scaling up national health programs and investing in Rwanda’s private sector. He is based in Rwanda where he directs several initiatives including Rwanda Works and the Millennium Village Project.
Question: What is the state of entrepreneurism in Rwanda?
Josh Ruxin: Well one of the amazing things about Rwanda these days is that it has a president, President Paul Kagame, who is considered the entrepreneurial president. He talks about entrepreneurialism all the time. He is constantly trying to create new opportunities for youth in the country as well as for entrepreneurs there by linking up with businesses in the west.
Recently I had the chance to actually work on a very small project, which was just to send four young, very promising students from Rwanda to real networks in Seattle where they spent a few months doing an internship with the hope being that they would go back to Rwanda and work at a technology firm there and share what they learned out there.
So in general since the genocide it has been a country which has been moving up in terms of the number of entrepreneurs and the number of new businesses, but they still have substantial challenges that remain before them. In particular when you are in a country where there are not great cutting edge businesses that have been exposed to the rest of the world they actually don’t have the systems or the management experience in place to compete.
Now that said the country has made some really impressive steps. It’s actually relatively easy to register a business. You can get a business registered probably in less than of a couple of days in Rwanda; that’s faster than in some developed countries. So that’s one of the positive aspects of being an entrepreneur there. On the downside it’s often very hard to find very good accountants and very good administrative staff just because they’re just coming out of the schools today and they’re starting to get more and more experience, so overall Rwanda is a good place to be an entrepreneur.
The market is relatively small, but Rwanda is connected very closely to several other countries. It shares a lot of borders of course with Uganda and with Tanzania and certainly with the Congo and Burundi and that means that if you want to do regional business Rwanda is a good place to do it and it’s just a matter of hitting on the right idea.
Recorded on: August 13, 2009
Josh Ruxin, head of Rwanda Works, explains how President Paul Kagame is helping to transform a once genocidal country into a center for commerce.
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How would the ability to genetically customize children change society? Sci-fi author Eugene Clark explores the future on our horizon in Volume I of the "Genetic Pressure" series.
- A new sci-fi book series called "Genetic Pressure" explores the scientific and moral implications of a world with a burgeoning designer baby industry.
- It's currently illegal to implant genetically edited human embryos in most nations, but designer babies may someday become widespread.
- While gene-editing technology could help humans eliminate genetic diseases, some in the scientific community fear it may also usher in a new era of eugenics.
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Sexuality dilemmas<p>Sexuality presents another set of thorny questions. If a designer baby industry someday allows people to optimize humans for attractiveness, designer babies could grow up to find themselves surrounded by ultra-attractive people. That may not sound like a big problem.</p><p>But consider that, if designer babies someday become the standard way to have children, there'd necessarily be a years-long gap in which only some people are having designer babies. Meanwhile, the rest of society would be having children the old-fashioned way. So, in terms of attractiveness, society could see increasingly apparent disparities in physical appearances between the two groups. "Normal people" could begin to seem increasingly ugly.</p><p>But ultra-attractive people who were born designer babies could face problems, too. One could be the loss of body image. </p><p>When designer babies grow up in the "Genetic Pressure" series, men look like all the other men, and women look like all the other women. This homogeneity of physical appearance occurs because parents of designer babies start following trends, all choosing similar traits for their children: tall, athletic build, olive skin, etc. </p><p>Sure, facial traits remain relatively unique, but everyone's more or less equally attractive. And this causes strange changes to sexual preferences.</p><p>"In a society of sexual equals, they start looking for other differentiators," he said, noting that violet-colored eyes become a rare trait that genetically engineered humans find especially attractive in the series.</p><p>But what about sexual relationships between genetically engineered humans and "normal" people? In the "Genetic Pressure" series, many "normal" people want to have kids with (or at least have sex with) genetically engineered humans. But a minority of engineered humans oppose breeding with "normal" people, and this leads to an ideology that considers engineered humans to be racially supreme. </p>
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A three-dimensional model of the feeding behavior of Bobbit worms and the proposed formation of Pennichnus formosae.
Credit: Scientific Reports
Beware the Bobbit Worm!<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="1f9918e77851242c91382369581d3aac"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/_As1pHhyDHY?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
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