Entering the gates of the Kigali Special Economic Zone, one immediately faces one of the features of the facility; the recently completed Carnegie Mellon University-Africa campus.
With the support of the African Development Bank, it cost about US$10 million to complete the first phase of the construction of the American tech varsity campus, located in a sub-zone called the Kigali Innovation City in Gasabo district.
Carnegie Mellon University-Rwanda has been operating from Kigali Telecom House building since
The project is under Rwanda Development Board (RDB). Kigali Innovation City is a US$1.9 billion flagship project that seeks to make Rwanda aknowledge-based economy in line with the 7-year Government Programme from 2017 to 2024.
The varsity now offers two Masters’ Degree programs; in Electrical Computer Engineering and Information Technology. Some students at CMU- Rwanda specialize in software engineering, cyber security, IT Entrepreneurship, Energy systems, telecommunications, business and other areas of their choices.
For the students to be admitted in the university, they are required to have excellently passed their bachelor degree studies in IT related fields like Computer Science, electrical engineering, but there also students with mechanical engineering degree but he also sits for an exam prepared by Carnegie Mellon University according to the Director of CMU-Africa, Prof. Vijayakumar Bhagavatula.
Students applying for a Masters degree at CMU is required to have good mathematics, programming and English skills.
The new building has modern rooms with cameras, which enable lecturers to teach students based in Kigali or a lecturer in Kigali teaches students abroad.
The building has the servers, which will keep the varsity’s own digital information but the servers will keep other institutions’ information if paid.
The campus has a small stadium with 500 seats, with plans to host different ceremonies.
In the second phase of the campus construction, the entertainment hub for students will be built.
Usually, a student pursuing his master degree programme at Carnegie Mellon University in USA pays a total of US$48,000 for tuition fees while students at Kigali Campus pay US$16,000.
Rwandan students are required to pay US$8,000, which is sponsored by the government.
The Director of the University, Prof. Vijayakumar Bhagavatula commends the partnership between the University and the government of Rwanda.
He said Rwanda invited the university to come and operate in the country and has accepted to receive other students from all over Africa.
Prof. Bhagavatula, who has now lectured at CMU for 40 years, says that the master degree certificates offered at Carnegie Mellon University-Africa are at the same standards as those offered at the varsity’s headquarters at Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania in the USA.
“These are CMU degrees and not CMU-Africa degrees because students here are given the same courses and they have to be approved by CMU at Pittsburgh. We are just a campus here; we are not online because we have a faculty here on the ground teaching. We are fully here,” he emphasized.
“We came here on the invitation of the Rwandan Government and started the CMU-Rwanda but now we are CMU-Africa. Though we have more Rwandan students, the university is for the entire African country and we have students from 15 other countries from Africa,” he said.
Within the last seven years CMU has been operating in Rwanda and the seven months he has personally been in Rwanda, Prof. Bhagavatula says that “all indications that it is a great relationship [between CMU and Rwanda.”
“We are very impressed by the support we have received. The students are all doing very well and those graduating are getting good jobs and it is all very positive,” he said.
The Public Asset Manager Division Manager at Rwanda Development Board, Felix Siboniyo showed to media practitioners the construction works of the varsity that are in the end.
He said in not a long time, the varsity will start sharpening skills of Rwandans and foreigners in technology.
The new building that RDB constructed for CMU will receive approximately 500 students.
They will start their studies inside the varsity from January next year, Siboniyo revealed.