During the Transform Africa Summit 2015, which hosted over 2500 delegates from 81 countries, the SMART Africa Scholarship Fund was officially launched. The fund will support African students pursuing their education at recognized African centers of excellence that focus on information and communication technology (ICT), such as Carnegie Mellon University in Rwanda (CMU-R).

The fund awarded its first scholarships to seven students pursuing master’s degrees at CMU-R. These students from Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania will be able to complete their master’s degree programs in Information Technology and Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Carnegie Mellon’s goal is to boost the ICT skills capacity in Sub-Saharan Africa by nurturing highly qualified engineers and preparing Africa’s next generation of technology leaders and innovators. The establishment of the fund complements the efforts of the Government of Rwanda and the College of Engineering to make CMU-R’s programs more accessible to Africa’s brightest young minds.

Initial support for the scholarship fund came from the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), as well as the governments of Gabon, Rwanda, and South Sudan, with total contributions of $800,000 USD. During the summit, other governments of the SMART Africa Alliance from Burkina Faso, Uganda, and Kenya also pledged their support.

On the last day of the summit, H.E. Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda, affirmed the vision of the SMART Africa Alliance “to unleash the energy and unexploited talent we know exists on our continent.”