Looking back, Rwanda has come a long way in recovering from the Rwandan genocide in 1994 that killed over a million people of the country’s major Tutsi and Hutu tribes.
Now, the country is making giant strides.
The government in 2000 established ‘Vision 2020’, a long-term development plan aimed at transforming the country into a middle income country by 2020 and driven by the private sector.
2020 is here and this vision has been achieved to a large extent.
Referred to as the ‘Switzerland of Africa’, Rwanda is now the model which many African countries understudy to fix their countries.
1. Economic stability.
Since establishing the vision 2020, Rwanda has recorded great economic growth.
This is no magic. Rather, it was a conscious effort by President Paul Kagame to revamp the country’s economy.
Agriculture accounts for 33 percent of its revenue and has long relied on coffee as a cash crop.
It started a program to reduce its dependence on subsistence farming, focusing more on manufacturing and service industries, and removed barriers that hindered trading.
Poverty levels has significantly reduced from 45% in 2006 to 39% in 2019.
GDP has grown from $5.77 billion to $9.510 billion between 2010 to 2016 with a 7% annual growth which analyst believe will continue to soar.
GDP per capita which was $146 in 1994 stood at $774 in 2017. In 2018 alone, it registered over $2 billion worth of investments.
The country is ranked 29 (very easy) in the World Bank’s ease of doing business rankings.
2. Low corruption level.
Many African countries are notoriously known for corruption.
It is not so for Rwanda. Corruption which has been the bane of the continent, is low in Rwanda.
The 2019 corruption perception index by Transparency International ranked Rwanda the fourth least corrupt country in Africa, only behind Seychelles, Botswana and Cape Verde.
Strong and effective institutions such as government, civil society and the media are the key factors behind the sustained fight against corruption.
Corruption has been drastically minimised by eradicating opportunities for misconduct, enforcing transparency, accountability and a zero-tolerance policy against the menace, backed by a strong leadership and political will, as well as effective government reforms.
3. The new tourist destination in Africa.
With a progressive president at its helm and the populace keen to see the country prosper, Rwanda targeted tourism and has now emerged as one of the hottest tourists destinations in Africa.
Firstly, it positioned itself as the ideal host of African conferences, meetings and events.
In May 2018, the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) named Rwanda the third most popular destination in Africa for accommodating international meetings and events.
It hosted the World Economic Forum on Africa in 2015 and the Extraordinary African Union Summit 2018, to mention a few.
According to Rwanda Convention Bureau (RCB), Rwanda hosted 201 events in 2018 with more coming up in 2020 like the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting.
Furthermore, its national carrier, RwandaAir expanded its flight destinations to London, Brussels and Mumbai, as well as 6 other African nations.
Also, aside its wildlife, famous gorillas and other animals, it built luxury lodges within its parks thereby creating an eco-friendly environment.
Although a landlocked country, it has many lakes and continues to build more in addition to its four national parks, six volcano sites and many other attractions enticing tourists.
In all, the country has doubled its tourism revenue from $200 million in 2010 to $400 million as at 2016.
4. Technological advancement.
Many African countries in recent years have invested in the technology industry.
Rwanda has positioned itself to get ahead of all.
The small country is now a hub for expanding tech companies.
Already, Pan-African tech giant, Andela and Nigeria’s Co-Creation Hub have set up offices in the country.
The bedrock of this accelerated growth rest on commitment to develop the ICT sector.
During the World Economic Forum in 2015, Rwanda was awarded the 1st place in ICT development in Africa.
It has 4G/LTE networks covering more than 95% of the country.
In 2018, it partnered with China’s Alibaba to establish Africa’s first electronic hub to promote trade and tourism between both countries.
German automobile company, Volkswagen launched its operations in 2019.
The Mara group recently released its Mara phone becoming the first African made smartphone.
One may argue that there have been other smartphone companies in Africa before but note that Mara phones are the first to manufacture all of its components in Africa.
Rwanda is unarguably the safest country in Africa.
The country is free from any form of insurgency or militancy, a thing some African countries cannot boast about.
By emphasizing on security, Rwanda with a population of about 12 million has a very low crime rate.
The World Economic Forum ranked the country 9th safest country in the world and 1st in Africa.
It can only get better – By the foregoing, Rwanda is arguably the new giants of Africa.