Editorial: The dream that was CMU-Africa

Carnegie Mellon University Africa officially inaugurated by President Paul Kagame in Kigali Innovation City yesterday. The facility was built at a cost of approximately Rwf9 billion and was funded by the African Development Bank. / Sam Ngendahimana

There was a time when the phrase; “building castles in the sky” was regarded in a negative sense.  It was more or less wasting precious time on things that would never take off.

In Rwanda, it was the other way round; the country had lost everything and all it could afford was to dream. The difference was that it was not content just to dream, it was determined to see them through.

That is what it has been doing for the last two decades and a half; it has been thinking, thinking big and punching above its weight, and God only knows the punches have been landing with devastating effect.

That is the story of Carnegie Mellon University Africa (CMU-Africa) that opened its classrooms eight years ago in an office block in Kigali. This week it moved to its new permanent state-of-the-art campus in what is known as Kigali Innovation City (KIC).

To bring the world-renown research university to Kigali must have needed some convincing, but most importantly, the person doing the pitching must have been armed with persuasive and convincing arguments.

They must have been passionate about their goal with a never-say-die attitude. Today that patience, drive and determination have seen the first of the KIC dream take off that will soon see other research institutions such as the African Institute of Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) as well as the African Leadership University (AIMS) set up campuses.

Today, CMU-Africa is home to students from over a dozen countries and the first alumni are causing waves in the technology sector on the continent. One thing the former students should do is to always keep in mind that they are a product of an audacious dream.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com