Later this year, Carnegie Mellon University's Kigali campus will open its doors for a new graduate program in East Africa.
The university, specialising in research, believes that Africa is a continent with excellent prospects of becoming an information-based economy. The university will offers courses including postgraduate degrees in information technology, with plans to expand to electrical and computer engineering within the next few years.
The Rwandan government will be paying for the campus, which it hopes will promote a surge in an economy still reeling from the 1994 genocide. According to sources, the US university's financial contribution is zero.
Pradeep Khosla, the dean of engineering at Carnegie Mellon, said that Carnegie Mellon's input is contained within "bringing its name, reputation, pedagogy, and faculty -- that's our contribution."
The Rwandan government and Carnegie Mellon University have been developing the scheme for the past three years. Rwanda hopes to expand the place of information technology within their economy by 2020 -- making more opportunities for higher education in relevant fields imperative if they are going to avoid an eventual skill shortage.
Bruce Krogh, the Director of Carnegie Mellon in Rwanda said:
"This is one of the things that excites me the most about the program.….by opening a campus in Rwanda we are going to have a whole cadre of students that are focused entirely on that environment and on the needs in that part of the country."
The campus, aimed at technology and engineering, is reported to include research incubators, training for executives and a mobile research centre.
There have been worries concerning the Rwandan government's policies on free speech and how this may clash with US policies. However, a condition of the campus build is that those studying at the Rwandan counterpart are expected to enjoy the same freedom that students have at campuses within the US.
The campus has prepared for approximately 40 students in its first semester.