Government of Rwanda partners with Carnegie Mellon University and Mastercard Foundation To Drive Youth-led Digital Transformation in Africa

H.E President Paul Kagame of Rwanda during his address at the UN general assembly 2022

The Mastercard Foundation, in collaboration with Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and the government of Rwanda, has announced a $275.7 million investment to strengthen Africa’s technology, innovation, and research ecosystem.

The investment will expand the engineering and technology, research, and entrepreneurship programs at CMU’s Kigali location, and includes $100.7 million from the foundation to establish CMU-Africa’s Center for the Inclusive Digital Transformation of Africa and a $175 million endowment to perpetually fund CMU-Africa.

The initiative builds on a previous partnership between the Mastercard Foundation and CMU that includes the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program.

CMU-Africa director Allen Robinson said the MasterCard Foundation’s investment will help sustain the program well into the future, ease the funding burden from Rwanda’s government and allow CMU-Africa to transition to need-blind admissions.

According to the Mastercard Foundation, Africa has the youngest and fastest-growing population in the world; by 2030, there will be 375 million young people in the job market in Africa, and that number is expected to grow to more than a billion people within the next few decades.

“The strategic partnership with Carnegie Mellon University is one of the Government of Rwanda’s key investments to support the development of a critical mass of skills in science and technology, particularly in ICT, required by the knowledge economy and to help accelerate Rwanda’s and the region’s socioeconomic transformation,” said Valentine Uwamariya, minister of education in Rwanda.

To tackle the challenges of financial inclusion, CMU-Africa will establish the Upanzi Network that will leverage research and academia across the continent to create a more open and trusted digital infrastructure.

The foundation will be a laboratory at CMU-Africa focused on building expertise, tools, prototypes and digital public goods that can be rapidly scaled across educational institutions in Africa.

Photo courtesy / United Nations

Article by Jedidah Mwangi