Is Rwanda the Singapore of Africa?

2 November 2011 at 01:58 | 1534 views

By Alfred Sorie Kargbo, Netherlands.

Education is the heartbeat and power-engine of development. To have a cutting edge and sustainable development African countries should allocate more funds on Science, technology and telecommunication. In the business world time is essential and these areas mentioned are vital to use time effectively and efficiently.

The president of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, a big thinker, is setting the pace in Africa by penning an agreement on 16 September 2011 with Jared L. Cohon, president of a major US university, Pittsburgh-based Carnegie Mellon University to build an Africa technology hub in Rwanda. The objective of the agreement is to establish a new graduate engineering program and offer a Master of Science in information technology which will produce technology entrepreneurs for Rwanda.

According to the article, (Wonacott, P. Rwanda to Mint Tech Masters. The Wall Street Journal. 15 Sept. 2011, p. 26.) the program aims to admit 40 students in 2012 with the intention to increase the number to 150 by 2017. East African students will be targeted with special preference for Rwandans. However, applicants from other nations (worldwide) will be considered. Also, in the second year of the program, a Master of Science in electrical and computer engineering will be offered.

Recently, African countries are experiencing an increase in Direct Foreign Investment but we lack the standard universities to supply the young talents needed by these companies that are now investing on the continent. A typical example is Sierra Leone. The London Mining Company is extracting iron ore in Sierra Leone, which is a good opportunity to employ Sierra Leoneans to do the engineering jobs but they were obliged to recruit foreign nationals from Burkina Faso, Guinea, Ivory Coast and Mali to name a few. We are giving away our natural resources without gaining any working experience in the areas of mineral resource mining.

If the Sierra Leone government could not at the moment lobby to establish similar Science and technology and Information and Telecommunication universities in Sierra Leone as in Rwanda of which one of the sponsors is the African Development Bank, it is advisable to make use of the opportunity to send qualified science students to Rwanda to get their Masters of Science in information technology and electrical and computer engineering. For proximity and tuition affordability’s sake let the government of Sierra Leone seize this opportunity to educate our young talents to meet the demand of foreign investors.

After the acquisition of their Masters they would not run away or stay in Rwanda as they would do if they went and studied in Europe or America. We need to start somewhere. It should be a long-term plan for the country and it’s worth the effort.