Kagame hails Carnegie Mellon partnership


JF-Expert Member
Jul 30, 2008
President Paul Kagame, on Friday evening, commended the decision by the US-based Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) to establish a campus in Rwanda, observing that it will not only boost the country’s science and technology ambitions but also ensure that students from Rwanda and beyond acquire quality education.


Addressing a gathering of over 1000 at the Pittsburgh campus, one of the leading universities in the world, President Kagame said that CMU opening a campus in Rwanda is in line with the country vision to build a knowledge-based economy.
For sustainable development, Kagame said that Rwanda has, among other things, established a solid foundation of scientific and technological knowledge as a priority.
“Our national development agenda is focussed on investing our major and indispensable resource, which is our people, hence the need of transforming our society into a knowledge-based one,” he said.
“It is clear to us that technology is critical in supporting these objectives. We have put in place policies and strategies that support private and public institutions — both local and foreign — to provide a wide range of skills to our people”.
The President added that the government has invested in communication infrastructure such as high capacity broadband networks that connect education institutions, healthcare and government facilities to each other and the rest of the world.
He noted that the technology enables the institutions to tap into the global pool of knowledge and build innovative capability, adding that the partnership with CMU will strengthen this quest.
“The partnership we are witnessing here today testifies to this timely approach of matching skills with where they are most needed to address complex development challenges and change lives for the better,” President Kagame said.
He added that Rwanda was happy to build a partnership with CMU because it has proven technological capabilities and integrated approach to education and development, which has made it one of the leading institutions globally.
The President said the CMU campus will give Rwanda and other countries in the region the opportunity to develop the skills, innovation and entrepreneurship which will take the nations on another level.
The campus will also allow a greater number of students to afford and access quality education locally.
Kagame commended individuals from CMU and from the Government of Rwanda who worked tirelessly in the last couple of years to bring the partnership to the level it is today.
The Head of State observed that the world remains unbalanced with some nations having acquired skills and technological capabilities to better the lives of their people, while others were still trapped in poverty, struggling to deal with basic development issues.
He said that for many years, it was thought that the aid flowing from rich nations would solve this imbalance, but in many areas this aid has not been properly utilised.
“In actual fact, there are no quick fixes. To sustain development means that nations should take ownership of their own agenda, charting their own way forward and working with those who wish to support them along this path,” he observed.
President Kagame said that developed countries which have the ‘know-how’ can work with those which don’t have it yet, so that the skills are transferred in a sustainable and meaningful manner to trigger socio-economic transformation.
He noted that developing nations, including those in Africa, will have to review how they conduct their business, and that way, developed countries will realize that given the interconnected nature of the world, prosperity is only truly significant if it has a broader reach.
For this to happen, he said, there must be engagement based on mutual interest and respect that ultimately meets everyone’s aspirations.
The Head of State had an interactive session with CMU students, on a number of issues, including his personal background, China’s influence on Africa as well as the country’s vision and ambitions.
Carnegie Mellon President, Jared Cohon, said the school was happy to be educational partners with Rwanda.
“Higher education is a key to success in the global economy,” Cohon noted in a statement.
The program will target students from the region and will give preference to Rwandan citizens, but students from around the world can also apply.
The African Development Bank is expected to fund construction of the new campus. The school hopes to begin with about 40 students next year.

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