Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) – Rwanda has yesterday received $10.8 million from MasterCard Foundation to boost its technology education programme in Africa.
CMU Rwanda made the announcement Monday during its graduation ceremony which saw 24 students receive master’s degrees in information technology, and electrical and computer engineering.
CMU, which graduated its first students in 2014, has to-date seen 70 students from Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda and United States go through its programme.
The new funding is expected to benefit about 125 academically talented, but financially disadvantage students from sub-Saharan Africa as part of MasterCard Scholar Foundation programme with each students receiving a scholarship package of about $86,000.
The beneficiaries are expected to use their knowledge and skills to lead change in their communities and contribute to meaningful transformation across the African continent through the use of ICT in areas such agriculture, finance, energy, among others.
“ICT is very much at the core of all of this with computer science and related science fields,” said Subra Suresh, the president of Carnegie Mellon University at a news conference on Monday in Kigali.
Carnegie Mellon University, Rwanda campus was established in 2011 as a centre of excellence to train African technology leaders in efforts to address the shortage of ICT professional experts and engineers in various sectors of the continent’s economies.
Rwanda’s minister of education Dr Papias Musafiri Malinda said the country needs ICT experts to boost socio-economic development goals in various sectors such as agriculture.
“We are aspiring to be reducing the extent of people engaged into the primary activities of agriculture by creating off-farm jobs, but that can only happen when you increase the rate of innovations in the primary agricultural activities,” Dr Musafiri said.
The MasterCard scholarship targets 40 per cent beneficiaries from Rwanda, and 60 per cent from other African countries.
Last week World Bank and Rwanda signed a credit agreement of $20 million to support centres of excellence in Rwanda’s institutions of higher education in bid to deliver high quality post-graduate students.
Kigali is poised to host African centres of excellence including data sciences, innovative teaching and learning mathematics and science, the Internet of Things, and sustainable energy.