President Kagame and Rwanda: The Burning Light Cannot be Hidden

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Some people call him a no-nonsense man. To some, he is arrogant. Others hail him as a visionary leader. Yet, some accuse him of being autocratic. Whatever you choose to call him, the one thing is certain – President Paul Kagame of Rwanda has the deep country’s interest in his heart. He has meticulously and convincingly shown this through ambitious plans and selfless service to the country. Hardly can any honest person deny this obvious reality on the ground as evident in the super transformation of Rwanda. Can a burning light be hidden?

Under President Kagame, Rwanda has metamorphosed to a success story. Twenty four years after the horrible genocide, which claimed nearly 1 million innocent lives within a period of six months, and sadly pushed the beautiful country into an abysmal pit of violence and animosity, Rwanda has risen to a small but mighty country to reckon with. President Kagame has judiciously transformed the country from self-pity to a respectable state by encouraging the country to gallantly take its faith and identity in its hands. No country can move forward if the leaders do not show and live by examples. Have you wondered why Rwanda is ambitiously moving forward while many other African countries are sluggishly moving at a snail-speed, enmeshed in corruption and economic stagnation? Rwanda is increasingly recognized as a success story – a few of its kind in Africa. The country is a global example in the pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and President Kagame is leaving no stone unturned in achieving his ambitious goals and making his country self-reliant.

On Wednesday, Rwanda unveiled its first locally built car at Volkswagen’s new factory in the capital, Kigali. This is a milestone achievement for a country where only 200,000 of its 12 million population owe registered private cars. The German automaker, which is Europe’s biggest carmaker, started producing its first model, Polo with an annual production capacity of 5,000 cars in the first phase. Later the company intends to equally produce other models like Amarok, Passat, Teramont, and Tiguan. Volkswagen, which has opened a similar plant in Kenya in 2016, has invested  $20m in the Kigali factory. The German car company has expressed its willingness to invest much more money in the factory to meet up its ambitious expansion plans in Rwanda. The initial production is expected to create up to 1,000 jobs, which will go a long way in creating economic self-reliance amongst Rwandans. With cheap but highly skilled labour readily available, Rwanda is offering many serious investors what many African countries have, yet they could not utilize due to short-slightness of their leaders.

In collaboration with the Chines government, the government of President Kagame launched on Thursday, a new Digital Television Project that will ensure that the villagers get access to satellite television services. The project, which will be implemented in across 300 villages will connect 6,000 individual households with satellite television service composed of a satellite dish, and 900 public institutions with a satellite projector TV system and 32-inch television sets. Similarly, German multinational Siemens has concluded its plans to pump billions of euros in Rwanda as part of the company’s investment targets to address the challenges faced by the country in energy, as well as President Paul Kagame’s ambition to make Rwanda an industrial giant despite the fact that a majority of the population engaged in agriculture. Equally, in its effort to be self-sufficient agriculturally, the country has recently launched the fourth Agriculture Transformation Strategy (PSTA4), which aims at the significant increase in farm productivity.  The six-year ambitious plan, which will run from 2018 to 2014 will cost the government around Rw2.7 trillion, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI).

Perhaps, having learned an important lesson after the genocide, the government of Rwanda has made safety one of its utmost goals. According to the World Economic Forum, Rwanda is the 9th Safest Country in the World – safer than the USA, which did not make even the 20th position on the list. For maximum security for the citizens and tourists, who constitute most of the visitors – armed police are stationed around many major places, including outside big shops, banks, malls and other public places. Unlike in many countries, where religious conflicts and animosities are the order of the day, Christians and Muslims live peacefully side by side in Rwanda – an extraordinary achievement considering the dichotomy and suspicions the past genocide created amongst Rwandans. Remarkably, Rwanda has never experienced any  Terrorist Attacks – the occasional occurrences in the Western world and other African countries.

Despite hiccups such as occasional energy shortages, instability in the neighbouring states, and inadequate transportation linkages to other countries, the government of Paul Kagame is not giving up on its target goals. Recently named as one of the fastest-growing economies in Africa and ranked as the 2nd most business-friendly country in Africa, Rwanda has experienced incredible economic growth, which has drastically reduced the country’s poverty and fertility rates, created jobs and increased income amongst the citizens. With all the enormous achievements, it is not hard to believe why President Paul Kagame’s ambition to make Rwanda the “Singapore of Africa” will become a reality. Definitely, it is not too late for other African leaders to borrow a leaf from the Rwanda government. You simply cannot hide a burning light, can you?