A group of students from Stanford Graduate School of Business (SGSB), yesterday, paid a courtesy call on President Paul Kagame at Village Urugwiro. The 22 business students are on a weeklong study tour to learn Rwanda's business concepts.
Two staff members and four second-year MBA students with experience working in the public and private sector in America are leading the group.
The Professor of Economics at SGSB, Renee Bowen, said that the "social innovation study trip" is one means by which Business students can satisfy Stanford's "global experience" requirement before graduation.
"All students must spend at least one week in a country they have never lived or worked in before graduation," Bowen said in an interview shortly after discussions with the President.
The theme of the trip is Rwanda: Paths to Prosperity and the focus is on better understanding the challenges and opportunities for economic development in low income countries.
Bowen added that the students' interest in Rwanda was inspired by the fact that despite the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis, Rwanda transformed itself from a failed state into one of Africa's fastest growing, most stable, and least corrupt countries in less than two decades.
"The students engaged the president on how his government was able to shift perception of Rwanda from an incredible humanitarian tragedy to the centre of one of Africa's most promising economic growth stories," Bowen said.
Bowen noted that students want to gain a sense of what it might be like to live and work in Rwanda and identify ways to create shared values for business and society.
Francois Kanimba, the Minister of Trade and Industry, commended the initiative, saying that it would enable the emerging leaders in the West understand better the economic and political dynamics in Africa.
"The students from USA chose to come to Rwanda to experience the unique story about our transformation with their own eyes," Kanimba said.
Kanimba said that the group has so far visited Rwamagana District and shared experiences with the residents there, visited Genocide memorial sites, and are still enthusiastic to learn more judging from their discussions with the President. SGSB is one of the professional schools of Stanford University in California, USA and is regarded as one of the best business schools in the world.