Rwanda – The African Miracle

‘’When can a woman make you a Millionaire?’’, with the answer “When you are a Billionaire’’ this was a joke printed on beer labels of Skol, the international Beer Brand popular in Rwanda. The joke was taken head on by the public when it was launched on Friday as being sexist and thus the company stopped it 2 days after. Rwanda is regarded as the world’s gender equality champion. The country boasts the highest percentage of women in parliament—67.5 percent—and, according to the World Economic Forum, ranks sixth for its effort to reduce the gender gap (preceded only by four Scandinavian countries and Nicaragua).

Rwanda, the fourth smallest country in Africa is one of the smallest nations on Earth measuring 26 338km2 with an estimated population of 12.3 million and an estimated GDP of $9.51 Billion (World Bank 2018). The country is ranked 2nd in Africa on ease of doing business report 2019 behind Mauritius which is 1st according to the World Bank’s Doing Business Report 2019. Rwanda has moved to 29th globally from 49th place in 2016. Business registration in Rwanda is done in 48hours. The President Paul Kagame is aspiring to make Rwanda a Middle-Income Country (MIC) and High-Income Country (HIC) status by 2035 and 2050, respectively.

Rwanda is a rising star in the Great Lakes Region of Africa. It has risen from the ashes of the 1994 genocide to the heights of claiming a global prize as one of the fastest rising economies in Africa and the world. The impact of the Genocide was brutal and it led to internal displacements and refugees fleeing into the DRC and Uganda (close to 2 Million people) and death of close to 1 million people. Recovering from this could not have been easy yet it is both humbling and hopeful to see a country coming together so strongly and so willingly back from such a terrible event to rebuild one of the success stories in Africa both in terms of economic and social development.

Africa’s growth today, is characterised by short growth spells of its countries, this is a result of reliance on single sector to generate the much-needed revenue for the countries. Rwanda has been one of the countries leading in the structural transformation that has ensured revenue and employment creation in various sectors of the economy that is Agriculture, ICT, and Tourism. Rwanda has experienced robust economic and social performances with growth averaged 7.5% over a decade to 2017 while per capita growth domestic product (GDP) grew at 4.7% annually. The poverty rate dropped from 39.1% in 2014 to 38.1% in 2017, while inequality measured by the Gini coefficient stood at 0.42.

On the Neil economic scale, a can of coke cost 500 RwF (R8.25) and the price of a litre or petrol is 1091 RwF (R18.01). Inflation has declined from 13.5 % in 1990 to -0.8 in 2018

Kigali the Capital is regarded as one of the cleanest cities in the world as the Government of Rwanda implemented the ban for the use of plastic bags/sachet “Amasashi” for environmental protection. The government has led the country in respecting the small but value adding initiatives such “Umganda” a consistent schedule in community cleaning days which takes place every last Saturday of the month led by the President. The leadership has driven Rwanda to become Africa’s leading digital revolutions by investing in internet facilities like construction of fibre optic in all parts of country. This has seen public institutions service delivery improving and revenue collection made easy with less corruption as Tax declaration and payment, Traffic penalties’ payment, Business registration …. etc. are done online.

So when reflecting on this nation that comes from the depth of sadness, genocide and deprivation, one would of given this country no hope of recovery. Yet today, Rwanda under the dynamic leadership of President Kagame, has risen beyond all expectation, to an economic leader in its region and indeed Africa. Its lauded progress in modernisation of its cities, infrastructure and no doubt promotion of human rights and equity amongst woman, is progressive. This no doubt has shown the world what goodwill and effort can do and no doubt showcases Rwanda as “ The African Miracle `”