Rwandan author and researcher Dr Jean Paul Kimonyo launched his latest book, ‘Transforming Rwanda: Challenges on the road to reconstruction. The book provides extensive insights into the transformation of Rwanda, right from the 1959 pogroms when thousands fled the country up, through the post-Genocide reconstruction of the last two-and-a-half decades.
In an interview with Stanford GSB Professor Renee Bowen, President Paul Kagame discusses leading Rwanda through economic and social growth over the 20 years since the 1994 genocide.
The article is on a conversation that President Paul Kagame had with Foreign Affairs managing editor Jonathan Tepperman in late February 2014. The discussion was on Rwanda’s success and the dark side that came with it: opposition politicians have been jailed or killed under mysterious circumstances, journalists complain of harassment, and Kigali has been regularly criticized for meddling in neighbouring Congo’s long-running civil war.
Nearly two decades after Rwanda’s horrific genocide, the country has been transformed. High rises are going up in the capital city of Kigali; a newly established stock exchange is attracting investors; and the economy is transitioning from subsistence agriculture to information and communication technology. In Rwanda, Inc. they look at the key factors that allowed this tiny country to beat the odds―including Rwanda’s efforts to encourage private sector development and foster entrepreneurship, and how Kagame’s unique leadership approach led to gains in health, education, and food sustainability.
The book takes the reader through a sweeping panorama of Rwanda’s history, from its recent past as a near-failed state to its present as a beacon of hope and successful innovations. Rwanda’s rise from the ashes detailed in this book is the culmination of a visionary and laborious process of rebuilding a nation from the brink of collapse. It is also a story of reconciling a people that had been taught to see each other as enemies. It concludes that the achievements have been possible because the RPF’s development agenda built on power-sharing, consensus-building, gender equality and the primacy of security.
Reconstruction from conflict is a complex and demanding task, and a major challenge for post-conflict countries as well as the international community. This book provides an insight into some of the main issues that arise in post-conflict economic and social reconstruction, and offers examples of what works, and what does not. It will be of interest to all working on economic and social reconstruction in post-conflict countries, as well as those working on peace and development.
To the uninitiated, post-genocide Rwanda is wrapped in a veil of contradictions. Take the upcoming elections. Two decades ago, the consensus was that Rwanda was a failed state. Today, the country is rated among the fastest developing economies in the world, cementing its reputation as a business-friendly safe space for investment. This transformation can only be credited to good leadership and the resilience and innovation of the Rwandan people.
The Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) Inkotanyi presidential candidate Paul Kagame told thousands of supporters in Kirehe district during the campaign period that none should play with any achievements the country has made. “Don’t touch our security, don’t touch our unity, don’t touch development of a Rwandan women” he said amidst applause. He promised his supporters that more projects are in the making to improve the wellbeing of Rwandans.
Vision 2020 Umurenge Programme is a large-scale social protection programme which is Government owned and led. It was conceived during a high-level leadership retreat in February 2007 as a response to worrying poverty trends in the country. It is a flagship programme of the Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS) 2008 – 2012. The VUP goal is to contribute to the national target to reduce extreme income poverty from 36.9% in 2005/6 to 24.0% in 2012. Its purpose is to accelerate the reduction of extreme poverty in VUP target sectors.