A New Model for Higher Education in Africa - AfDB Supports Carnegie Mellon University's Campus in Rwanda

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Participants gathered at the Carnegie Mellon University in Rwanda to celebrate a unique tripartite partnership between the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Government of Rwanda and Carnegie Mellon University and the planned opening of a Carnegie Mellon Campus in Rwanda in January 2012.

"Such a successful partnership between one of the best academic institutions in the world, the government, and a financial institution is quite an innovative endeavor and one of the first in Sub-Saharan Africa", said Dr. Agnes Soucat, AfDB’s Director for Human Development in her speech at the partnership celebration.

Carnegie Mellon will be the first highly-ranked American university to operate a fully-fledged campus in Africa.

The AfDB and Carnegie Mellon are embarking on an exciting adventure to build a new model of higher education for Africa – one that is Africa-based, providing high-quality education, , technologically-sophisticated, intrinsically linked to the private sector and which supports the Rwandan government’s Vision 2020 of building a knowledge-based economy.

“Alongside the ICT revolution taking place on the continent, no less than a revolution in education is needed. In many African countries, post-independence universities were designed to build the modern state, often focusing on training of civil servants. In 2011, this is no longer the case. We need to move from a classroom-based education model to one that fosters linkages, interaction and debate between professors, students, young entrepreneurs, businesses within Africa and globally with a view to create job-rich growth in Africa”, said Dr. Soucat.

While the official opening of the campus will happen in January 2012, Carnegie is already accepting online applications.

Carnegie Mellon is receiving USD 13 million from the Bank and USD 95 million over 10 years from the Rwandan government to operate the program. Initially, it will offer Master's degrees in Information Technology.  As of 2014, it will offer electrical and computer engineering degrees and may eventually offer Doctorates. The university expects to enroll 40 students at first, and will expand to 150 students by 2017. While this program is open to students globally, it will seek to attract students from East Africa, with a preference given to Rwandans. The Rwandan government will offer scholarships for its citizens to pay for the program's tuition and other costs.

The Carnegie Mellon University Rwanda Campus will serve as a center of excellence, primarily meant as a regional ICT hub for East Africa. Carnegie will collaborate with the Rwandan government to create an innovation incubator to help students create their own businesses. The center of excellence will comprise the innovation incubator, an executive education center, a mobility research center, a practical training center and a graduate education program.

For more information, please contact:
Tunisia: AfDB, Pénélope Pontet de Fouquières
Project Managers:
AfDB: Maria T.M. Mdachi, Michel Guedegbe
Government of Rwanda: Mike Hughes, Advisor to the Minister of Education, Rwanda,

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