Viva Rwanda
My Opinion
How is it possible that Rwanda is developing at a faster rate than Nigeria?

I will be careful not to compare Rwanda and Nigeria. This is like comparing Singapore and the United States. How could you possibly compare the two?

Nigeria ( Red) is 35 times the size of Rwanda ( blue). 13 million people versus 180–200 million, depending on who is doing the stats. Both countries are different.

From what I gather from Nigerians, the issues of Nigeria are related to tribalism, change in leaderships, which fails to put together a cohesive vision for the country, and good governance ( zero tolerance to corruption, etc).

Rwanda is a small, landlocked country with a troubled past. Right now, they are fighting hard to get out of the poverty trap by branding their good governance to attract investments into their country.

On the other side, Nigeria is a very “rich” country. The issue of Nigeria is about allocation of resources to the common people. Having an efficient system to educate the masses, invest in healthcare to ensure a good quality of life for Nigerians, and investing in infrastructure to connect rural areas to the cities.

This is the whole concept of sharing the resources of their country among their people. Just look up how many billionaires and millionaires are based in Nigeria. You will be surprised.

Both countries are very different on any level you can think of. There are no lessons that Rwanda should be giving to Nigeria. Nigerian people are very smart. They have a very educated diaspora and can turn things around if they wanted to. They already know their problems and need nobody to lecture them about what they should do. Just see the examples below.

In Rwanda,

We have had one “ mighty” president for over 2 decades. Do you want Nigeria to have one president for 20 years? No Nigerian I know will agree to that.

We have one dominant party, which wins election by over 90% or more. Can this happen in Nigeria? I don’t think so in a million years.

Since the dominant party always wins election, their agenda and development plan never changes. Regardless of who is in the parliament, their agenda is always the same.

We have one language, one culture, and have kicked out tribalism due to our past. So, we are one people. This helps to communicate with one another, holding discussion about how to move our country forward, and making decision of how to get there.

We have the politics of cooperation and not antagonism. This is in part due to our past. We can disagree on ideas, but we try hard to stay civil about our differences. We don’t have time to fight over politics.

What are the results? This is a humble brag of course, but it is something.

2nd most competitive economy in Africa.

2nd Easiest place to do business in Africa.

#1 Safest and most secure country in Africa ( 9th, globally).

1st most transparent government in Africa ( 9th, globally).

1st best place to be a woman in Africa ( 5th, globally).

2nd country in ICT ( Information, communication, and technology) promotion globally.

After South Africa and Egypt, Rwanda ranks 3rd in hosting international conferences and assemblies in Africa.

The Rwanda today was prepared back in 2000–2003. The so called Vision 2020, which was designed to transformed from a low-income country to a middle income country. Since President Paul Kagame election in 2003, we have never looked back. We have been following the blueprint, checking each of the 44 measured goals, one by one. We are not where we want to be, but we are doing our best.

At the moment, we are already working on the new vision ( Vision 2050), which will upgrade Rwanda from a ( lower) middle-income country to an (upper) middle-income country. This will hopefully happen from 2025 to 2050. We are not worried because the agenda of the RPF will never change. They are not about to lose election anytime soon.

My answer to your question is that:

Nigerians do not need to replicate the model of Rwanda. I do not think that our model would work anywhere. Having one dominant party has been good for us given our past history of 1994. I don’t think it would work anywhere honestly.

The leaders of Nigeria in business, politics have all they need to form a model for Nigeria. Just see what Nigerian Artists, Musicians, Movie industry, and tech industry have done in less than 15 years? Naija has it all. There are a few missing screws to put the whole project together.

As a fellow African, I certainly wish them the best.

Didier Champion’s answer to Which country is the most developed, Rwanda, Kenya, Nigeria, or Angola

My Opinion
Why is Human Rights Watch always against President Paul Kagame?

Here is a simple answer by Rafael Hukai.

When I worked in Africa, I visited Rwanda several time, and witnessed the transformation under President Kagame’s leadership. I also work with many people who used to serve the military under General Kagame. Together, they turned the country from killing hell to a shining start in East Africa. The country is clean, orderly and progressing.

Who is HRW? Do they care about people’s life and lifelyhood, or just their own ideas? I am happy to see Rwanda people stand on their own term, and I am looking forward to go back their to be part of their country rebuild effort. They don’t have natural resources, they don’t have a sea port, all they have is hardworking and intelligent people, with a great leadership. They will be Singapore of Africa.

Quotes: Rafael Hukai

My Opinion
Photos of the week

“We could not have done anything to prevent floods or heavy rains from occurring, but helping those who survived this tragedy is within our ability and we must do it.”  President Kagame

The people’s President.
He used to behave normally and loved to spend time with us even in good times or bad times.
Our country is very blessed to have you as our President ❤️✊
The best President in Africa is @PaulKagame.
This Africa will be great again.❤️✊

Photos: Internet

My Opinion
Which is the most developed city in East-Africa?

The Eastern African region has about 15 countries.

The top 5 biggest and largest metropolitan cities are Nairobi ( Kenya), Dar-es-Salaam ( Tanzania), Kampala ( Uganda), Addis-Ababa ( Ethiopia), and Mombasa ( Kenya).

The most developed city is without a question, Nairobi, Kenya. Nairobi, Kenya

Apart from Johannesburg & Cape Town in South Africa, Cairo ( Egypt) and (Lagos, Nigeria), Nairobi is the fifth wealthiest city in Africa.

As far as technology is concerned, Nairobi beats any African city. It is a hub of tech innovation on the continent. They even beat South Africa in this sector.

Narration: By Didier Champion

My Opinion
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

My Opinion
South Africa can learn many lessons from Rwanda and its youthful leadership

The average age of Rwanda’s cabinet is 47 — South Africa’s bloated Cabinet is by comparison 60 years old. The Rwandans hire smart, young, qualified people to run their various ministries. They are measured according to clear, agreed goals. If they don’t perform, they’re out. 

Irecently attended the Aviation Africa Summit in Kigali. I was intrigued to visit Rwanda after hearing so many positive stories about the country.

At the same time, I was apprehensive about visiting another poor African country that I feared would leave me feeling sad and hopeless. My experience in Rwanda was exactly the opposite — meaningful, energising and inspiring.

Rwanda is a country of 12 million people living in a tiny (but magnificent) landlocked area, 100th the size of its westerly neighbour, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). It is one of the world’s poorest countries, its GDP per capita only one-seventh the size of South Africa.

Its colonial and tribal history is tragic and traumatic. The catastrophic genocide of 1994 was one of the most brutal episodes in recent history. Almost a million were killed and every single Rwandan was affected and traumatised in some way. The rest of the world shamefully stood by while a nation was destroyed in a mere three months. Conversations with locals inevitably refer to pre- and post-genocide Rwanda.

Less than three decades “post-genocide”, Rwanda is a well-run, resourceful and fast-growing (about 8% consistent GDP growth pre-Covid) and peaceful country. It is clean, safe and efficient. Its people are positive and proud and have a common purpose to build their country. Their legendary national monthly clean-up day is symbolic of the nation’s disciplined determination.

Rwanda’s two main economic contributors are tourism and agriculture (mainly coffee and tea). The mountain gorillas are a major attraction, particularly to American tourists. It’s a surreal bucket-list experience to spend an hour with these awesome, humanlike creatures in their natural habitat.

Rwanda’s fertile, rich soil is ideal for many fruit and vegetables and their coffee beans are becoming world-renowned. The “Question” coffee brand is a cooperative of 30,000 woman coffee growers and is delicious.

Investment into the country is encouraged and supported, The Rwanda Development Board was specifically set up to facilitate and fast-track new investment. Investors are allocated a point person to navigate and expedite the process. There is no requirement to include a local partner — the strategy is to create employment and opportunity for many rather than empower a privileged few.

Their transport system is fascinating. A system of 200,000 motorbikes with Airtel-branded drivers transport commuters around the capital city for around $1 a trip. There is very little congestion and accident rates appear to be very low due to high levels of compliance with speed and other regulations — a practical, smart and efficient solution.

Given my involvement in travel and tourism, I was intrigued by the focus and development of their industry. Their national airline Rwandair is building a hub in Kigali and recently concluded a partnership with the world’s leading airline, Qatar, which acquired a 49% stake. The government is supportive of open skies in Africa, something agreed upon by African states 23 years ago in Yamoussoukro but never implemented.

The Kigali Convention Centre is world-class and attracts many global conferences. Hospitality offerings range from the ultra-high-end to the very affordable. Service is warm and efficient.

It’s hard not to compare our two countries. I couldn’t help feeling a sense of shame and frustration when asked about the progress of our country. South Africa is resource-rich, has world-class infrastructure and skills and a well-diversified economy. We have a globally appealing and affordable tourism offering.

And yet we consistently underperform. Tourism is our “low hanging fruit”, a massive employer of low- and semi-skilled workers and a serious driver of foreign income. We way underperform in global terms (Croatia attracts more than 10 times the number of high-spending tourists that we do).

How has Rwanda, a country so tiny and poor, put itself on the map and achieved so much? And what can we learn? Leadership, of course, is the answer. Rwanda is well led. Its long-time, sometimes controversial president Paul Kagame is clear and unwavering in his ambition to build his nation. Corruption is not an option. Everyone local we met is completely committed to the country’s vision. Rwandans are one people, no more talk about Tutsis and Hutus, just Rwandans.

But here is the fact that surprised me the most: The average age of Rwanda’s cabinet is 47 — South Africa’s bloated Cabinet is by comparison 60 years old. The Rwandans hire smart, young, qualified people to run their various ministries. They are measured according to clear, agreed goals. If they don’t perform, they’re out.

The ICT minister is an MIT graduate, she is building a digital-first infrastructure in the country. Young leaders are building their careers and have much more to lose (and prove) than older leaders who’re on their last mission. Young leaders understand technology and the role it plays in everything. Young leaders are open to new ideas and experimentation. Young leaders have the energy needed to solve tough problems. Young leaders identify with their young constituents (average age is 20).

Source: Daily Maverick