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Why Rwanda under Kagame is set for economic take off

By George Orido | Published Sat, July 1st 2017 at 00:00, Updated July 1st 2017 at 15:01 GMT +3

Rwanda President Paul Kagame is almost assured of another 7-year term to lead the nation of 12 million people after his papers were accepted by the National Electoral Commission last week.

Chairman, as he is popularly known in the Rwanda Patriotic Front circles, is expected to win in the August 4 General Election to continue with his reconstruction policy for a country that experienced one of the worst human atrocities since holocaust.

A visit to Kigali and other districts of Rwanda today will confirm that indeed the proverbial Phoenix that rose from ashes is a reality that can be realised through good leadership and determination of a people to prosper against all odds.

In 1994, Rwanda was at the brink of a failed state when in 100 days nearly 1 million Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed in a genocide that had the world turning a blind eye and a deaf ear.

It is a classic example of what negative ethnicity and hate can drive a people to. A visit to the Kigali Genocide Memorial or other memorials littered across the country including Butare to the South offers a chilling reminder that nothing but peace is sustainable within any political dispensation.

For Kagame who took the reins of power in 2000 after the resignation of his predecessor Pasteur Bizimungu, the journey to rebuild a nation wreathing in the shadow of such bloodletting, it has been a steady but treacherous path.

Conflict resolution

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First he had to deal with justice and reconciliation aspects of the genocide and in his wisdom, the traditional conflict resolution, the Gachacha courts, mechanism came in handy.

In this system, the victims came face to face with their tormentors and the latter confessed to atrocities and begged for forgiveness.

A modern court system could have seen a backlog of cases and most importantly throwing the youthful and energetic suspects behind bars could not only overwhelm the prisons capacity but would have taken away the much needed human capital to rebuild the country.

With this, the country had a new dawn with an opportunity to shape its future and the future of its future generations.

From a then population of 7 million, Rwanda today is nearly double the population with over 12 million who have embraced a rather egalitarian system of government where political parties are thriving and Rwandans are able to choose its leaders through the secret ballot.

An air of stability guaranteed by a deliberate security system buoyed by a robust community policing approach, Rwanda today is the third best country to invest in, in the continent.

Today, any investor would walk into the Rwanda Development Board headed by the Harvard graduate Clare Akamanzi and within 6 hours walk out with a business licence.

Ms Akamanzi is the indefatigable, unassuming and visionary manager who is a Cabinet Minister in Kagame administraton and a meeting with her is a sign why the 59-year-old President is succeeding in making Rwanda a success story.

Today, Rwanda is one of the most ICT based governed country in the world and a reason why graft is almost unheard of.

Rwandans transact nearly everything online and digitally including the use of clean and spacious commuter bus services in Kigali.

This city is clean with manicured lawns and wished pavements, the roads have solar powered signage including at night and it’s easy to notice a bump and road demarcations without any room for mistaken warnings.

The way drivers, riders and pedestrians obey traffic lights has brought sanity and reduced accidents that would easily occur in Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu or any Kenyan town.

But the most striking achievement of the Kagame adminstration is the solid waste management where plastics were banned, no one throws around refuse and former commercial sex workers have had the opportunity to work as cleaners and sweepers of the road and pavements for a play with huge multiplier effect.

My travel on RwandAir was one of the most memorable and enjoyable with the airline buying brand new planes and a hospitable crew with unparalleled care.

It’s crucial to note that many African airlines go for second hand or third hand planes that are prone to breakdowns, decay and uncertainty.

Land consolidation

Rwanda is also investing heavily in its agrarian development with rice paddies in most of her valleys of a thousand hills, including Gatsibo sector, producing today nearly 70 per cent of her rice needs.

Konza is an excellent example where land consolidation is taking place to pave room for maize and dairy farming assuring Rwandans of food security.

The same story is in mining, real estate, energy, manufacturing, infrastructure and tourism that interestingly have depended on Kenyan expertise to take shape and grow.

The country’s National Electoral Commission boss Charles Munyaneza has assured all candidates a free, fair and credible elections with a total budget of Sh657 million.

And with an annual growth rate of 6.9 per and continuing on a path of peace and good governance, Rwanda is set for economic take off.

-Mr Orido is a Journalist with The Standard.

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Standardmedia.co.ke


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