As a result of two separate partnerships that we've signed today with the Rwandan Ministry of Infrastructure and the Kenya Education Network, nearly 20,000 students from the National University of Rwanda, the Kigali Institute for Education and the Kigali Institute for Science and Technology, plus 50,000 more from Kenya's University of Nairobi, are joining their colleagues at Northwestern, ASU and around the world with access to Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Talk, and Google Docs & Spreadsheets under their university's domain for free.This is interesting to me because Jessica and I happened to visit a number of those places when we went to Rwanda. Here is the vice rector of KIST showing us some of the projects the students there were working on. We were lucky enough to get a personal tour of the entire facility and got to talk to many of the students there.
Later we also visited the University of Rwanda at Butare, where we were also shown around, then we got to see a dancing competition they were holding on campus and then went to have a beer with the vice rector there. I'm glad that Rwanda and Kenya are adopting this - I think it is a great sign of things to come and the progress that is being made there. I hope that someday soon Rwanda will be able to compete effectively in the global technology market - providing computer skills to bring in money and jobs and to be able to enhance their own technology infrastructure. I think they are focused and determined to do just that and I'm glad to see them making strategic partnerships to get their students and ministers using cutting edge web apps.
While we were at Butare, I got to chat for a few minutes with a couple of the Linux system admins on campus - there is no doubt that there are some really smart people there that could easily match many of the people that I've worked with in Silicon Valley. They are only now starting to graduate people with advanced degrees in computer science from the Univ. of Butare - the genocide having been about 12 years ago, when their educated class was nearly wiped out. I think and hope that in a few more years we'll see some major outsourcing shops open up there in web development, graphic design, CG work, possibly call center work - and we'll be able to see their economies benefit on the global market from the educational and infrastructure investments they've made in the past few years.