April 1994 bears the memory of the regrettable genocide witnessed by the global community, from the small African country of Rwanda. The genocide saw the deaths of approximately 800,000 people in 100 days, according to the United Nations. In the years that followed, Rwanda was on the brink of a total socio-economic collapse.
23-years later, this small country of 12 million inhabitants has seen remarkable economic and community development strategies that have turned the country around.
The country now boasts a shared identity in reconciliation and human development, high urban design and capital market growth, and it has positioned itself as an attractive destination for foreign investment, business, and tourism travelling ventures.
Reconciliation and Human Development
Given the atrocities and the complex dimensions of reconciliation, the capability for genocide victims and perpetrators to live and work side-by-side seen in Rwanda is remarkable. The complexity of aspects of reconciliation was due to the extremity of the genocide, and it’s challenging legal processes of investigating the genocide and restoring justice and unity in the country. After the genocide had come to an end, in July 1994, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) was set up in Arusha, Tanzania to prosecute those mainly responsible for the genocide, under the rule of the then vice-president Paul Kagame. Further immediate steps that were taken by the new government were to eliminate the reference to ethnicity in identification documents of citizens in the country, and from then on each and every inhabitant was recognised as “Rwandans.”
In December 2001 a new flag and national anthem were unveiled in Rwanda in efforts of promoting national unity and reconciliation in and among the community. The capital city, Kigali has seen significant economic results from programs such as its poverty reduction program, which allows for the introduction of health insurance for all citizens, the improvement of educational opportunities to advance in skills training and development, and the promotion of the private sector. Economic growth in Rwanda is reportedly consistently growing to 8% annually, and according to the World Bank, the life expectancy in the country has doubled since 1994 to more than 60 years.
Urban Design and Capital Market Growth
The capital city of Rwanda, Kigali, grows in innovative progress. Regarded as the symbol of Rwanda’s progress, Kigali regularly sees new technological advancements and the development of skills and employment opportunities with each new skyscraper built. According to Mayor Fidele Ndashiya, if the pace of the development will continue growing as it is currently, then Kigali will be a modern flourishing city.
In 2007, the Government of Rwanda, through the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning established the Capital Market Advisory Council (CMAC) as a transitional body that will assist in the creation of a capital market. And in the year 2011, the Capital Market Authority (CMA) was born following the publication of the Law. Since the inception, Rwanda’s capital market has reportedly been able to mobilise capital worth of RwF 196 billion (USD 235 Million) in both equities and bonds.
According to the Executive Director of the Capital Market Authority, Robert Mathu, “Rwanda’s capital market has an active equity market and a gradually emerging bond market for both corporate and Treasury Bonds. The market is gearing for additional money market products to offer alternative and modern methods of mobilizing long-term capital.”
High Foreign Investment Destination
Tourism is one of the greatest contributors to Rwanda’s economic revenue. Rwanda is unique as the home to one-third of the world’s remaining Mountain Gorillas. It is also home to one-third of Africa’s bird species and many volcanoes, rainforests, and game reserves. Rwanda’s destinations also include islands and resorts. Graceful and spiritual dancers, as well as artistic crafts, are all part of the rich travelling experience found in Rwanda. One of the most popular destinations includes the Nyungwe Forest, the Lake Kivu, the Akagera National Park, and the Kigali Genocide Memorial.
Recognising the contribution of tourism and its success in the region, Rwanda, along with two East African countries; Kenya and Uganda, have launched an online portal in a bid to market the area’s tourism products jointly. This initiative will be a platform for travel and tourism players from the three countries to provide a new channel to reach out to regional and international markets showing their tourism products, experiences, and destinations. The initiative is achievable due to the improved road and air connectivity between the countries, which allow a comfortable travelling experience. Rwandan High Commissioner to Uganda, Frank Mugambage said, “Rwanda is committed to supporting joint marketing efforts for the region to attract more tourists to help create jobs and economic growth.”