Kagamecracy Is Making Rwanda a Bad Teacher For Developing Nations (Part I)
Rwanda has been likened to Singapore, even labelled the African version of the Asian Tiger. This comparison has come about as a result of the speed at which Rwanda is improving its business climate and making known its aspirations to become a regional hub for communications services, just as Singapore did before.
The country has strived to develop its economy and become a regional hub in the service industry. This economic vision is attributed to the energetic President Paul Kagame. In recent years, Rwanda has proved to be a stable political climate for massive inflow of foreign investment, thus impressing investors and encouraging them to welcome Rwanda into the global economy. There is a long list of global names lining up in Kigali; from VISA and Marriot, to Starbucks and Contour Global.
Rwanda has become more selective in the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) it wishes to attract. President Kagame, when analysing FDI proposals, has been known to ask how the investment would benefit Rwanda and help it progress in the direction it wishes to go. Does the project involve technological developments and employment opportunities?
During official visit in May 2008, Kagame engaged with business leaders in Singapore, encouraging them to seek out investment in Rwanda. He explained that there is a common misconception that many African Governments are seen as being â€œunfit for business,â€ but instead both Africa and Asia should work at â€œdeveloping mutually beneficial business relationships.â€
Kagame also explained that Rwanda had been inspired by the dramatic economic growth achieved by the Singaporean Government. He went further to say that Rwanda also intends to stabilise the social and political conditions by instituting reforms so that its economy could prosper at a faster rate. Rwanda understands that its aspirations to attain economic growth and regional reverence will be on a smaller scale than that of Singapore. They aim rather to become â€œprosperous, modern and efficient.â€
Rwanda has proved it is an attractive country for business â€“ ensuring that the rule of law prevails and corruption unheard of, different from other peers. Lacking in bureaucratic obstacles, business registration can be done swiftly and cost effectively.
Rwandaâ€™s booming IT sector
Since 2008, Rwanda has taken special steps towards becoming East Africaâ€™s technological hub. The national fibre-optic ring whose installation began in 2009 was intended to transform Rwanda from a predominantly agricultural state into a â€œhi-tech economic innovatorâ€ that would be focused on communications services. Some 2,500km of the cable runs across the nation. Recently, a hospital in western Rwanda, said the cable had been stopped 3km away. Since the assertion had been made in presence of Kagame, barely a month later, the cable was the hospital.
The National Information and Communication Technology (ICT) commission set out a clear three-phase plan of action. Between the year 2000 and 2005, laws and supportive institutions would be put in place. Between 2006 and 2010, the communications backbone of fibre-optic wiring would be placed, and lastly between 2011 and 2015, services would be introduced at a speedier rate. Various assessments put the countryâ€™s broadband speeds at levels only read about in other countries.
This persistence has rewarded Rwandan communications as being the development that has given Rwandans an appreciation of becoming a â€œsophisticated, knowledge-based economy and instilling a sense of national identity and unity.â€ Furthermore, the gross domestic product (GDP) has multiplied and there has been increased access to basic services such as healthcare, insurance and free primary education, which have been promoted by the communications industry.
Similarly, it has since improved as a result of the 7million people who now have access to a mobile handset.
National communications companies such as Airtel, MTN and Tigo have since provided services to farmers through making crop and weather updates available, access to services such as driverâ€™s license bookings or voter registration via SMS, and also mobile banking, allowing users to pay bills.
With such speed pace of development, in such a short time â€“ where some have made no progress despite decades of stability, Kagame is putting Rwanda at odds with the existing western script; you cannot do anything on your own!
Kagame is making Rwanda a bad teacher as more nations copy-paste â€œhome grown solutionsâ€ philosophy that is driving Rwandaâ€™s work ethic. Until Kagame gets to understand that he is such a burden to interests of NGOs which want a desperate Rwanda where they can then issue out funding appeals, they will keep denouncing him.
Only crime; Kagamecracy is killing their business!