By XN IRAKI
To most people, Rwanda is the land of a thousand hills. They are everywhere. The airport is on a hill and so are houses and hotels.
A drive through the capital Kigali gives one an eerie feeling of the hills. But this land is more than hills.
It might serve as a model of the African renaissance. The 1994 genocide brought this small but Africa’s most densely populated country on the brink. Close to two decades later, there is an air of a new beginning.
It is not just about the new buildings coming up, but the confidence and respect that Rwandese carry around. In hotels and even backstreets, an air of optimism pervades this land.
There are no potholes on the roads, polythene bags are forbidden, cities are clean and airtight security around-the-clock.
This optimism has attracted hordes of investors and tourists. Little wonder that Rwanda’s economy is ranked among the world’s fastest growing.
So what has been the secret behind Rwanda’s astronomical growth?
Some schools of thought aver that no country has modernised without shock therapy. US had her civil war. UK had the Norman invasion of 1066 while Japan and Germany have World War II behind them.
But there are also exceptions. Nigeria for instance has gone through crippling phases of civil war but is yet to savour the true taste of modernity.
For Rwanda, however, the mass slaughter in 1994 was a lesson quickly learnt.
A memorial in Kigali reminds the living of the excesses of man. A walk through the memorial silences even the bravest of hearts. There is a background on what brought about the genocide, which includes scaring tribal statistics that we are instituting in Kenya.
The memorial captures the evil part of man and includes information on other genocides in Armenia, Yugoslavia, Cambodia, and other parts of the world.
The memorial’s most moving section includes photos of those who died in genocide, their clothes, wallets, cars keys, baby shoes, skulls, other bones and mass graves.
This shock forms the foundation on which Rwanda has anchored its Vision 2020 — an economic blueprint that hugely bets on reconstruction, social capital, ICT and good governance.
This plan also seeks to transform agriculture into a productive, high value, market oriented sector; develop a strong private sector, improve education and health.
- Man gets 20 years in jail for raping 80-year-old woman
- Ukraine's finance ministry denies "drunk" claims against minister
- Sweden jails Rwandan for life for role in 1994 genocide
- Uhuru ICC trial begins Nov 12
- Pirate Bay founder sentenced to 2 years in Sweden hacking case
- Are you unemployed, let us know your story