Carnegie Mellon University’s commitment to educating Africa’s next generation of technology leaders and entrepreneurs received a boost on June 20, with a $10.8 million commitment from The MasterCard Foundation.

This new partnership that's been established at the College of Engineering program in Kigali, Rwanda, will benefit 125 academically talented but economically disadvantaged students from Sub-Saharan Africa as part of The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program.

 

We are excited to partner with Carnegie Mellon University in Rwanda, an exceptional institution committed to training the next generation of African engineers, innovators and entrepreneurs to meet pressing global challenges

Reeta Roy, President and CEO, The MasterCard Foundation

The university joined a global network of 23 Scholars Program partners, comprising educational institutions that are committed to developing Africa’s young leaders. These Scholars will use their knowledge to lead change in their communities and contribute to meaningful transformation across the continent.

“We are excited to partner with Carnegie Mellon University in Rwanda, an exceptional institution committed to training the next generation of African engineers, innovators and entrepreneurs to meet pressing global challenges,” said Reeta Roy, president and CEO of The MasterCard Foundation.

By offering degree programs in ICT to 125 students from lower-income families in Africa, Carnegie Mellon will have impact in three ways: first, this Program will expand career options for the Scholars; second, it will be an educational and research resource underpinning the growth and development of the technology sector in Africa; and third, alumni and faculty will benefit from Carnegie Mellon’s resources that support entrepreneurship and innovation.

The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program at Carnegie Mellon University in Africa will attract a diverse mix of Scholars from Rwanda and the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa, with a priority on increasing the enrollment of women. It will provide holistic student support, including scholarships, leadership development, volunteerism, and industry-driven career services.

The Program started this fall and will conclude in 2023, underscoring the importance of long-term education programs in Africa. Research underway at Carnegie Mellon in Africa also takes a long-term approach. The faculty understand that to address Africa’s technology needs, students require time to analyze and solve problems in the context in which they occur. Research at Carnegie Mellon explores topics relevant to Africa: wireless networking, mobile applications, energy systems, cyber security, agriculture, financial services, and telecommunications.

The partnership announcement was made during the Rwandan program’s third graduation ceremony, when 24 students received master’s degrees in information technology and electrical and computer engineering. To date, the program has graduated 70 students from Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda, and the United States. Most of these graduates are working in their home countries, making an impact in the private sector, government, and academia, and the rest are pursuing doctoral programs or creating startup companies.