October 11, 2012
This self-taught Rwandan has built a small hydro-electric dam that supplies electricity to the inhabitants of the Ngororero village. Anastase Tabaro has no technical training and did not attend school. However, he has conceived and built this electric generator which is powered by the Tiliba River and that has simply required the use of recyclable materials.
Unemployed, but committed not to starve, this inventor, who is in his fifties, spent time doing research on how to generate electricity so that he could earn a living by selling it to the villagers in a region where nobody had electricity. He has, therefore, identified an opportunity that allows him today to earn money decently. Indeed, his workshop is solicited by the villagers who come in to charge their car batteries, cell phones, etc.
This technical feat from a self-taught Rwandan from the hills had actually reached the capital city. The Rwandan government decided to support this project by installing electrical poles in the village to supply electricity to a dozen homes, including the church. With electricity, it is no longer necessary in Ngororero to cut wood for cooking or to use petrol for lighting. Electricity has changed the lives of the villagers.
The involvement of the Rwandan government is noteworthy because this is the first step toward the recognition of local inventors who can effectively respond to the immediate needs of populations at unbeatable costs in the market. However, preparing future challenges is crucial so that it becomes possible to move from an arty-crafty system to a semi-industrial production unit; as the concept and the technology developed by the inventor can be improved and replicated in other areas that are not supplied by the electric utility company.
The stroke of genius of Anastase Tabaro (self-taught) is to have been able to understand, without reading books on this subject, that he needed a turbine that would use the river's current to spin the rotor of the generator that produces electricity. After such an example of ingenuity, can one still doubt that the industrialization of Africa is possible if our inventors are taken seriously? Certainly not; but most importantly, let's admit that intelligence is different from pure academic training and that even so called "illiterates" are not lacking common sense and technical skills, and that they can play an important role in the industrialization of continent.