As much as the thoughts of the infamous Rwanda genocide and civil war might be frowned at, much hope and inspiration is to be drawn from the present day Rwanda, much enough to eclipse the scars of its dark past.
Drawing inspiration of her disastrous conflict past Rwanda is slowly emerging as one of Africa’s promising developing economy. After the 1994 genocide, the country overhauled and rehabilitated her economy to improve efficiency. Agriculture has always been the backbone of her economy with 70 percent of the entire population engaging in subsistence farming. Due to its mountainous terrain and climate, coffee and tea are the most suitable and commonly cultivated crops and also are the country’s major commodities of export.
The country has undergone rapid industrialisation governance, with strict adherence to industrial and labour laws in order to increase productivity. Minimum wage and social security regulations are in full swing. The justice system was overhauled and enabled the removal of trade and development barriers. The country has also reviewed visitor’s visas laws to enabled hassle-free entry to visitors. In 2016 the country was reportedly ranked 42th best environment for business in the world and 2nd in Africa. Global investors such as VW have already setup assembly plants producing at least 5000 vehicles per year.
The Central African country is highly regarded as a phoenix rising from the ashes. After shattering war and ethnic conflict which claimed more than 800 thousand lives, Rwanda is slowly finding its feet, the economic growth is up; multiparty elections, although disputed, the government has earned praise for its zero tolerance against corruption. The parliament has the highest number of women representatives than anywhere in the world, emerging as women empowerment model with 60 percent of its parliament consisting of women.
Over 15 million tonnes of coffee has been produced as compared to pre-war volumes of around 35 to 40 thousand tonnes. By 2002 Tea had been the largest export commodity reaching over 18 million tonnes. Since the early 2000, there has been a massive economic boom with a 5,6 percent inflation rate with a 49,9 percent of the population living above the poverty datum line, there has been also a modest unemployment of 16,7 percent.
Much of the significant strides that the country has made are largely aligned to the government policy. The Rwandan government has opened its doors to the world not only by offering visa on arrival but also promoting the country through tourism initiatives. The tourism industry earned over US400 million most coming from gorillas tracking alone. They are the most conserved and revered animal by the locals. As per government policy 10 percent of the revenue generated is ploughed back to promote nature conservation initiatives. The country’s Development board in partnership with the English Premiership Club Arsenal FC seek to boost the county’s tourist inflows by branding through various advertising concepts such as match day LED boards at Emirates stadium and interview backdrops.
In 2017 the country’s GDP was US9, 14 billion in stark contrast of 0,12 in 1961.The country is pulling above its weight as a result of sound policies. This has resulted in the international communities feeling compelled to engage with Africa’s promising country in various facets of cooperation. Recently, the US government granted the country major airline Rwanda Air, rights to land and operate in US territory including long haul flights.
The country has also exhibited capacity to host international meetings and summits such World Economic Forum, African Union as well as sports tournament such as Nations Cup. Recently the country was nominated to host the 2020 Commonwealth Heads of government meeting.
In trying to protect her own domestic textile industry, the government banned the importation of second hand clothes from USA. This led to the subsequent suspension from the Agoa duty free benefits.