Rwanda’s Resilient Economy. Credit: This Is Africa/Financial Times
’s transformation from the peak of its political crisis culminating in the 1994 conflict until now is remarkable.
Though the country is frequently held up as a model for rapid development by politicians and development policymakers, its trajectory and political culture are unique. Rwanda’s president, Paul Kagame, is an unabashed admirer of Singapore’s transformation from a resource-poor island nation into a high tech global finance and technology hub.
There is a long way to go before Rwanda can be the ICT-driven knowledge economy its leaders envision.
Despite the challenges, clearly some things are working well. The small, landlocked nation is managing to maintain strong growth of 6 percent through 2016 even as sub-Saharan Africa as a whole is forecasted to slow to 3 percent. It has averaged more than 8 percent for the past decade.
Recommended: Inside the Tech Revolution That Could Be Rwanda’s Future
This is partially because Rwanda, a net importer of most products including oil, stands to benefit from global commodity and oil price plunges. However, speaking to both foreign investors and government officials, it is Rwanda’s business climate that helps to set it apart.
The country frequently tops rankings for the best places to do business and to invest in Africa. It has a reputation for a clean, corruption-free public sector and a stable regulatory framework. Rwanda’s strong-handed government may divide opinion, but its track record also shows that the commitment of top leaders to development objectives goes a long way towards achieving them.
As the 2016 World Economic Forum opens in Kigali, Rwanda’s capital, this report provides insight and analysis focusing on two key sectors for Rwanda’s continued development: telecoms and ICT, and manufacturing. While neither is currently a dominant driver of GDP, both are key to building the dynamic, middle income economy that Rwanda is aiming towards.
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Rwanda – A new model for growth: This Is Africa & the Financial Times
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