Economic crisis and poor infrastructure were partly blamed by the ethnic Hutu on the minority Tutsi. What followed was the assassination of President Juvenal Habyarimana and the beginning of an ethnic cleansing; a genocidal war that cost the country its citizens, its properties and its economy.
Fast forward to 2016 .
The country’s GDP stood at 8.376 billion dollars with its GDP (per capita) rising from a meagre $146 in 1994 to a staggering $700 in 2016 ; just $300 shy of its $1000 mark as held in its economic blueprint : vision 2020.
What has changed?
A combination of factors have been responsible for the sustainable economic growth in the years after its civil war and genocide: Good governance and effective policy implementation.
The current president, Paul Kagame was the leader of the the rebel group responsible for providing an end to the ethnic cleansing and was democratically elected in the year 2000.
He has spearheaded a drive towards providing local and foreign investment to the country, while improving key factors like security and ease of doing business. (The country is currently ranked Number one in this regard).
Effective representation and a patriotic desire for the nations development has seen a steady rise in economic growth .
Coffee , a key export crop of the country has increased from 35000 tons in 1993 to 14 million tonnes in the year 2000. Exponential increase!.
This growth has been a direct result of the actualization of the goals stated in the country’s vision to transforming herself from a low-income agriculture based economy to a knowledge based, service oriented one.
While Agriculture still accounts for over 30% of the country’s GDP ratio, services rake in an astounding 45% ; a figure only paralleled by one or two countries in africa .
One vision to raise the GDP (per-capita) to $1000 by 2020 is looking bright as the country’s GDP per capita ratio currently stands at $700 and likely to increase with accelerated economic growth across the continent.
Reduction of the poverty line from 45 % to 39% was planned and with poverty levels currently at 30% , It is certainly looking good for the East African nation!.
Key Economic Reforms of the Kagame Administration .
It is important to highlight some of the key economic reforms that have placed Rwanda on its upward pedestal.
1. Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS) :
This strategy was designed to ensure that key goals of Vision 20:20 are achieved through economic transformation, rural development, youth productivity and development and accountable governance. This strategy also houses other reforms that work in synergy towards the EDPRS .
2. Rural Sector Support project ( RSSP) :
This project is partly funded by the world bank and seeks to take advantage of the country’s topography by improving productivity in agriculture on hillsides through irrigation systems and horticulture. This scheme has seen rise in food and cash crops and ensured increased food production for the country’s population.
3. Electricity Access and Scale up Sector wide Approach (EASSA):
A partly world bank funded policy , this scheme aims to increase electricity grid by improving existing hydrothermal stations and building new ones. Partnerships with neighboring Angola and Burundi to provide light has seen the grid improve from 6% in 2009 to 24.3 % in 2016.
Some of these reforms have seen improved service delivery and distribution and positioned the country towards being “ The Singapore of Africa” as the President once acclaimed.
Other sectors have not been left out as the country has made significant progress in its natural resource exploitation and technology. ( In 2013, the country ranked 1st in internet broad band speeds!)
Although , there are still hitches ( with unemployment at 16.1% and a weak foreign exchange), there seems to be a belief within the continent that Rwanda would be the new totem of Africa’s Development drive and sooner than later , The country would take its place among the world’s superpowers! .