FACT CHECK: Was A 19-Year-Old Appointed As Rwanda’s Minister Of New Technologies And Development?

Trevor Schakohl | Fact Check Reporter

A post shared on Facebook claims Rwandan President Paul Kagame appointed a 19-year-old named Patrick Nkuriza as the minister of new technologies and development.

Verdict: False

Rwanda doesn’t have a Ministry of New Technologies and Development. A spokesperson for the Rwandan government confirmed the claim is “not true.”

Fact Check:

The claim that Kagame appointed Nkuriza as the minister of new technologies and development has circulated widely in recent weeks.

“This little genius experienced a dramatic rise to the point of getting the baccalaureate at 14 and obtaining a PhD in digital communication engineer afterwards,” reads the post. “Patrick is a real gifted person who has developed several applications that allows his country to perform her activities in a lot of economic areas. So it is right that he is appointed a minister in his specialty.”

There is, however, no evidence such an appointment occurred. Rwanda does have a Ministry of Information Communication Technology and Innovation, but it is currently helmed by Minister Paula Ingabire, according to the Rwandan government’s website. She has held the position since 2018, per the Rwandan newspaper The New Times.

A spokesperson for the Rwandan government confirmed in an email to Check Your Fact that the claim is “not true.” (RELATED: Does This Photo Show Covid-19 Relief Packages In Rwanda?)

“The information circulating is not true,” the spokesperson said. “The President has NOT appointed a 19-year-old as Minister of New Technologies and Development. As a matter of fact, Rwanda doesn’t have a ministry with that naming.”

In 2017, the University of Manchester called Jean de Dieu Uwihanganye the “youngest ever minister” in Rwanda. Uwihanganye, an alumnus of the University of Manchester, was appointed the Rwandan Minister of State in charge of Transport that year. He currently serves as the High Commissioner of Rwanda to Singapore, Australia and New Zealand.

The young man pictured on the right in the image also appears to be misidentified. The Sun and The Mirror ran similar photos in stories about a British boy named Ramarni Wilfred. BBC News reported in 2019 that Wilfred, then 16 years old, has “an IQ higher than Bill Gates and the estimated 160 of Einstein.”

Trevor Schakohl

Fact Check Reporter
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