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18.03.2019 Feature Article

Rwanda From Genocide To Economic Prosperity

Paul Kagame, the president of Rwanda
Paul Kagame, the president of Rwanda

Rwanda, a small East African country with a population of about 12 million people, suddenly became famous because of a monstrous genocide in 1994, which claimed the lives of over a million people, in a war between two tribes, the Hutu and Tutsi.

After the painful chapters of Rwanda’s political history, nothing was heard about the country any longer than a country of genocide. However, 25 years after surviving the worst atrocity, devastation, and hunger, Rwanda now leads African countries on a number of important factors.

According to the Index of Prosperity in Africa, released by the London Legatum Institute, Rwanda came in first place, in terms of development and the country is changing rapidly, becoming better than any African country.

The country was ranked among the top ten in terms of education, health care, quality of government, security, and economic development.

In East Africa, Rwanda became the most prosperous state on the whole African continent, as the eighth in quality of life. South Africa, Botswana, and Morocco took the first three places.

Such impressive progress is amazing in a place where there is little to be found, and especially in a country which was decimated by war but rapidly gain momentum to lead African countries who are still struggling decades after independence.

Related topic: The Role External Forces Play In Political Violence In Africa - The Story Behind The Rwanda Genocide:

It seems Paul Kagame gets his inspiration from the Singaporean leader, Lee Kwan Yew because he doesn’t hide his admiration for him.

The Singapore leader with an iron fist has eradicated corruption and turned the poor settlement of fishermen and smugglers into a sparkling and prosperous city of the future and the Rwandan President has set himself the goal of repeating Singapore’s success in Africa.

Does one need to be cruel to build a successful country? The methods used by Kagame are similar to that of Lee Kwan Y. Kagame has unleashed a merciless type of jihad to fight corruption in the country, reducing the incurable cancer-corruption drastically.

The president, without hesitating, sends critics to prisons, crushes all opposition, and does not allow journalists any criticism in his address.

Paul Kagame has used the principles of West Europe to build his law enforcement agencies and the safety of people on the streets is the highest priority. The courts were radically reformed and now the judges handle the vast majority of cases elected by the residents of the communities in which they work.

Foreign investments are attracted and protected at the state level and the country has invested much money in education. For example, almost all schools in the country, including the children division are provided with personal computers.

Paul Kagame has marked the construction of an economy focused on services and high technology. Fiber optic cables for the high-speed internet are being pulled across Rwanda, and new roads are being built and reconstructed.

Tourism, which for obvious reasons was absent during times of war and genocide, has now become the most important sector of the economy, bringing almost half of its GDP.

People travel to Rwanda from all over the world to gaze at mountain gorillas, Lake Kivu, the only one in Africa that does not have crocodiles, and also wildlife in numerous reserves of the country. It is not surprising that streams of foreign investment are pouring into the country.

In the capital, the city of Kigali, branches of foreign banks and supermarkets of global retail chains are being opened, new buildings are being built, which by local standards can be called skyscrapers. For sixteen years, GDP per capita at Rwanda’s purchasing power parity rose from $ 500 in 2000 to $ 1,800 in 2015.

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An 8.5 MW solar power plant operates in Rwanda Photo:

Under Paul Kagame’s administration, Rwanda has declared war on religion. More than eight thousand churches have been closed down. Following the government’s directive, the Rwandan government has decided to reduce the number of places of worship both Christian and Muslim in the country.

The directive provides for the closure of churches that do not have sufficient health and safety requirements to continue to carry out their activities, according to the pro-government. It is believed that the church escalated conflicts in the genocide.

Even though the Rwanda government has followed an entirely different policy, not in line with pure democracy, the success of a country which almost all the citizens nearly perished has shocked the whole world.

Joel Savage
Joel Savage, © 2019

Joel Savage is a Ghanaian-Belgian journalist and author. The accredited press-card holder of the Flemish Journalists Association once contributed regularly to the features column of the Daily Graphic, The Mirror, Ghanaian Times and the Weekly Spectator. The writer currently lives in Belgium., Author column: JoelSavage

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