Varsities, banking sector mourn economist, lecturer
Kigabo died on 14 January in a hospital in Nairobi, Kenya. Family members told The New Times he had succumbed to COVID-19.
The 58-year-old, who was the National Bank of Rwanda's chief economist, taught at the University of Rwanda, the Kigali Independent University and Jomo Kenyatta University and has been credited with banking reforms at the bank and in the sector.
Kigabo is survived by his wife and four children.
He had a PhD in monetary, finance, and international economics from the University of Lyon, France, and a masters degree in applied mathematics.
As an academic and educator, Kigabo offered econometrics, monetary economics, applied mathematics, and microeconomics at bachelor, masters and PhD levels at various universities.
He had taught at the former National University of Rwanda, which later merged with six other colleges to form the University of Rwanda.
"The University of Rwanda suffered a terrible loss with the passing of Professor Thomas Kigabo. His experience and strong influence in the field of economy will last forever," according to a post on the University of Rwanda Twitter account.
Kigabo also taught at the university's College of Business and Finance and served as the director of academic affairs and the rector of the Kigali Independent University, where he also offered courses such as operational research.
Until his death, Kigabo was a member of the University of Kigali council. He had also taught at Jomo Kenyatta University in Rwanda, which closed in 2017. It was a branch of the Kenyan Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology.
The late economist was also a seasoned visiting lecturer of econometrics and a member of the academic advisory council of the Cameroon-based African Institute for Mathematical Sciences, which is part of a higher education network of centres of excellence on the continent.
Through his lectures and personality, he inspired the next generation of African scientists, according to a statement by the centre.
Kigabo taught Theogene Ndahayo, a statistician at University Teaching Hospital of Butare in Huye district in the Southern Province.
"Kigabo taught me macroeconomics and was an extraordinary lecturer ... His passing is a huge loss for the country, for higher learning institutions and for the financial sector in general," Ndahayo told University World News.
Jean de Dieu Bikorimana, who is serving as the acting director of planning, monitoring and evaluation at the National Industrial Research and Development Agency, said Kigabo taught him operational research and that he had inspired many as he was a hardworking man and “one of the best economists" the country had ever had.
According to the National Bank of Rwanda's governor, John Rwangombwa, the bank and its employees were saddened by Kigabo's death.
"Professor Kigabo was a hardworking, selfless and passionate great leader; he leaves the legacy of excellence as recognised by all of us," said Rwangombwa in an obituary by the bank.
"Professor Kigabo has played an important role in the reformation and implementation of monetary, economic and financial sector development policies in Rwanda," according to a statement by the Access to Finance Board, of which he was a member.