Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Rwanda to offer access to worldclass education to its neighbours

In September 2011 in Pittsburgh, Paul Kagame President of Rwanda and Jared Cohon President of Carnegie Mellon University announced a unique partnership between CMU and the government of Rwanda to deliver graduate education programs in Rwanda. It is unique because it is the first time that a top ranked research institution will deliver graduate programs in Africa with in-country presence and resident faculty. The plans are for 15 faculty from CMU to be resident in Kigali to deliver Master of Science in IT and in Electrical and Computer Engineering degrees.

Last week, in a very interesting and  visionary move, the government of Rwanda announced that it will provide scholarships for the CMU's programs in Rwanda covering 50% of the tuition cost for students qualifying for the programs. But what is extraordinary is that those scholarships will be available for students from all countries in the East African Community (EAC): Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. One can only acclaim this visionary move rarely seen in Africa.

The EAC represents a market of 130 million people connected in many ways: an open market, a common business language English (except still for Burundi), broadband Internet networks crossing all 5 countries. Good governance is being recognized in most countries. This EAC region is poised to become one of the major development poles in Africa.

While in Pittburgh, President Kagame made it clear that CMU would be part of a "regional" ICT center of excellence. The goal of his government, clearly explained in their public Vision 2020 plan, is to become an ICT hub for the region. This announcement can only help attract the brilliant minds of the region to come to Rwanda to get a world class education in the region helping slowing Africa's brain drain. Now students can access quality graduate education in Rwanda without the need to move to the US and will benefit from a curriculum adapted to the region's needs by resident CMU faculty.

I'm a strong believer in innovation developed by Africans for Africa in Africa. This is a great step in that direction.

Seeya later alligator...