15 things you did not know about Rwanda

1. Rwanda is one of the Safest Countries in the World

According to the World Economic Forum, Rwanda is among the top 20 safest nations in the world. Rwanda ranks #9 out of the top 20. This is a big deal given the history of Rwanda. 20 years ago, the same census ranked Rwanda on the bottom 10, it was among the worst performers worldwide. Today, Only Rwanda and Morocco are the only African country to make it to the top 20 on this 2017 census.

Not only is Rwanda safe, but its national army and police forces are involved in peace operations around the world. Under the UN peace operations, The Rwandan Defense forces ( RDF) are involved in some peace operations in South Sudan, Republic of Central Africa, and Haiti.

2. Rwanda is one of the Least Corrupted Countries in Africa

According to Transparency International, Rwanda is among the least corrupted countries in the world. In Africa, Rwanda ranks 3rd after Botswana and Seychelles. Worldwide, Rwanda still has more room for improvement. Rwanda’s CPI ranks 48th, globally. There has been some massive improvement in the fight against corruption in Rwanda. 20 years ago, Rwanda would have ranked 187th out of 195.

3. Kigali: The capital city of RWANDA

Kigali has been voted as the cleanest and one of the most organized cities in Africa. For the 4th year in a row, The United Nations nominated Kigali as the most beautiful city in Africa.

4. Environmental Sustainability ( The first country to ban plastic bags in the world)

The streets of Rwanda, green, clean, and environmental friendly. Since 2008, The use of plastic bags was banned. No plastic bag is allowed to enter Rwanda. Even at the airport, you give up your plastic bags, and they give you biodegradable reusable paper bag. It is amazing!

5. Monthly Community Service in the whole country

It’s called “Umuganda” in the local language, which means “ working together”. The last saturday of every month, each community delegates a place to meet up and do something positive to the community. Usually, activities involve cleaning up, planting out trees, building a house for the poor, infrastructure ( a local school, hospital), or something of that nature. The idea is to work together for the betterment of the community, sharing ideas to benefit the Rwandan society at large.

This community service is done by everybody. Nobody is excluded. From the rich, the poor, the middle class, the politicians, etc. See this man in the photo below? Yes, he is the president of Rwanda. He does the Umuganda too. In fact, every month, he goes to different locations around the country to do Umuganda with the people.

6. Accountable Good Leadership, led by Paul Kagame, the best president in Africa, right now.

I can’t think of any other president who has transformed his/her country, literally from being hopeless to hopeful, from a disaster to a economic recovery, from literally nothing to something. Perhaps, most importantly, he has inspired and motivated the next generation of young leaders, like myself. He is the ideal and the practical definition of a good leader. He motivates and inspires the young generation, and most importantly leads by example.

As a head of the African Union ( AU), he has an almost impossible challenge to change and make major reforms in order to make the AU, a great organization it can be. If there is anybody who can start this mouvement, it’s him. He is the man of action. He is the complete opposite of many African leaders, who are “all talk no action”, with empty premises every presidential term cycle.

7. Gender Equality and Respect for women

The key reason for Rwandan success ( after 1994 genocide) is attributed to promoting gender equality. Giving men and women equal opportunity to acquire skills and knowledge. Women have not only embraced the opportunities, they have taken it to another level in all sectors of the economy in both private and public sector.

Rwanda is the first nation in the world have to have a higher representation of women in the parliament in modern history. Today, 64% of the members of the Rwandan parliament in both chambers ( Senate and deputy) are women. No wonder why the country is doing well. Regulations mandates that at least 30% of all government institutions have to be women. From top-level ministers level to low-level leaders in the communities.

You talk about women’s rights, equality and all that? In Rwanda, we don’t just preach equality. We are doers. The population is 50% men, 50% women, so it makes sense to include women at all levels of decision making in the government. Doesn’t it?

Women deserve respect and appreciation for what they have done for our country. We would not be where we are today without their hard work, effort, resilience, and determination.

8. Tea and Coffee ( Some of the best coffee in the World)

Rwandan Coffee is second to none. Best quality coffee out there. Every year, Rwanda coffee wins some of the best international awards for best quality coffee. Let me know if you have had any other coffee that competes with ours. I am a coffee stud myself. So, I would be interested to know who are our competitors!

9. Kigali Convention Center ( The most expensive building on the African continent). It cost about 300 million USD.

It is a masterpiece of architecture combining arts, culture, and modern design together. it is a major venue for big national and international meetings and assemblies. It hosts major national and international meetings, forums, and summits. Some of the most notable meetings are African Union meetings, the World Economic forums, United Nations meetings, and many more.

10. Regardless of your nationality, you do not need a visa to come to RWANDA.

Starting January 1st, 2018, you don’t need to apply for a visa to come to RWANDA. Want to come to Rwanda? No problem. You will get a 90-day visa at all Rwandan borders and airports if you are African; and 30–60 days if you are from other continents. Other countries are closing, tightening up their borders, we are opening them and welcoming the world. I love it.

Come visit us and see it for yourself when you get a chance. Remember, no hustle with visa applications, and all that. Just come! We give it to you at your airport arrival. It only costs thirty USD dollars ( $ 30) and takes 3- 5 min.

11. Beautiful Mountain Gorilla and amazing Safaris Experience

Rwanda has 50% of all the mountain gorillas in the world. They are endangered species, so Rwanda does a great job at preserving these treasures. You will have the best experience touring and visiting the amazing creatures.

Also, if you want to see all sorts of animals ( Hippos, Lions, Zebras, etc) at their natural habitat, Rwanda has all you need. Akagera National Park and Nyungwe National Park are the main ones. Forget about the zoos, come to Rwanda. We will take you where they live. This is my cousin photo last time we were there. Amazing experience!

12. Rwanda’s topography is beautiful and unmatchable

Rwanda is nicknamed “a country of a thousand hills” for a reason. The majority of the country is 1,000 meters ( 3,300 ft) above sea level. The central plateau is between 1500–2000 meters ( 4,950–6,600 ft) high. Rwanda’s topography is composed of mountains, many small and average hills, and lakes. The highest pick is Mt. Karisimbi at 4, 519 meters ( 14, 826 ft) and the largest lake is Lake Kivu, which is situated at 1,460 meters ( 4,790 ft).

If you are an adventurer, who likes to explore and get lost in the wild, Rwanda is a perfect location for you. Over the years, I have had my fair share of many “once in a lifetime” opportunities. Below are a few of my favorites.

13. Rich culture and Traditions (Amazing hospitality, great and friendly people. ):

Rwanda is a very welcoming country. We have a rich culture of dance, music, arts and all that. There is nothing we enjoy more than sharing our culture with others. If you come visit us, we will be happy to share it with you. Below are a few photos of our sisters showcasing our amazing culture through dance and music.

14. Rwanda, among the most Attractive Tourist Destinations in 2018.

2018 is an exciting year for my beautiful nation, Rwanda, and for travelers around the world. As a proud Rwandan, I am very happy that we are finally starting to get the recognition we deserve by many international tourism agencies around the World.

Rwanda has been featured among the “must see” locations for the year 2018 by various international travel agencies such as CNN Travel, New York Times, Huffington Post, The Telegraph, the Vogue, and many others. Whatever your adventure you want, Rwanda will satisfy your exploration needs.

15. It takes 48 hours to Start a Business in Rwanda

According to the “Ease of Doing Business”, a report published by the World Bank, Rwanda always come in the top performers in Africa and the world. Every year, good businesses are awarded by the Rwanda Development Board for their job well done. This is a poster for the 2017 year awards.

None of these achievements would have been possible without massive amount domestic and foreign investments. Rwanda has made it clear to any investor regardless of their nationality that we are indeed open for business. To achieve this, the government created RDB, the Rwanda Development Board, an agency in charge of marketing different investment opportunities available in the country to the outside world.

Rwanda has lots of business opportunities in every sector of the economy. Agriculture, energy, financial services, mining, infrastructure, real estate, tourism, ICT( Information and technology), and manufacturing. Each sector still has more room for growth and early birds are making money given the good business climate in the country.

This agency is also in charge of advising the government on business-friendly policies and reforms in order to make investors feel at home in Rwanda. Today, it takes only about 2 days to register and start your business in Rwanda. This is a big deal given the fact that the same process takes 11.1 days on average in OECD high-income countries.

That’s all for today. Unfortunately, I cannot fit everything I like about Rwanda in one article, but this is a good brief introduction. I hope you learned something new about my country, Rwanda, apart from Hotel-Rwanda. Once again, the movie shows what happens 24 years ago, but it is not what “Rwanda is Today”. I wish many people knew that.

It makes me sad to go around and I have to explain that my family is safe and we are just as okay as you people around the world. We are moving on together, stronger and faster than anybody envisioned. As you can see, 24 years after 1994, Rwanda is definitely nothing like “Hotel-Rwanda”. We are a peaceful, developing country, with an ambition to change the course of its history for the better.

Didier Champion https://www.quora.com/Do-you-know-anything-about-Rwanda