People, for instance, my parents, got extremely worried when I told them that I would go to Rwanda. Considering that all they know about Rwanda is Hotel Rwanda, those reaction is somewhat understandable. I would have said the same.
However, today's Rwanda is completely different country with what we've seen in the movie.
Kigali is beautiful. This "Singapore of Africa" is almost the only country in whole africa that you don't have to pay bribery to do business. People cross the street at a crosswalk on green light. Well organized garden all over the city smells good. It is just beautiful. Kigali today looks like the picture below.
Anybody who sees this city today would not believe that this city was filled with dead bodies where street dogs learned the taste of human body.
During the study tour, we got a change to meet Rwandan government.(RDB: Rwandan Development Bank). They impressed me with a clear action plan based on insightful analysis. Compared to other underdeveloped countries without prioritization, these smart and dedicated government officers were clearly aware of what they are doing. The next question that comes up to my mind: What forms this strong government? This is not usual for underdeveloped country.
We have studied about Paul Kagame's exceptional leadership before we came here. However, there are thing that cannot explain only by the leadership. Every single government officers were very smart, dedicated, and somewhat excited. In Kenya, I got this impression while I was talking with impressive entrepreneurs. But here in Rwanda, it's government where the talents gather and work. So I asked them: "What made you to decide to work for a government?"
In general, Rwandan government officers are young, born and raised outside of Rwanda. It is understandable when we consider that the population decreased to two third and there were simply no education system by the time of right after 1994 Genocide.These people are "coming back" to their country now. What moved them?
Paul Kagame's leadership is out of imagination. Only 18 years ago, for Tutsi Rwandan Patriot Front(RPF) leader, leading politics of revenge seemed the easiest way to build a new government. There was hatred that he can easily utilize. However, he successfully eliminated the concept of "Tutsi" and "Hutu" and hired everybody for the new government. He created "Rwandan identity" and got fund to develop the country from international organizations who were feeling guilty for leaving Rwanda in difficult times.
The young government officials that 1) The president appreciate young talents. He scouts and promotes talents over the world actively 2) They believe that they are able to perform under this government 3) In Rwanda, they can make a real impact compared to other beaurocratic organization such as EU or World Bank. It's lot more rewarding.
Now there is positive loop like that of asia. The government becomes a well respected organization, talents want to work in governmental organization than private sector (Rwanda is less entrepreneurial than Kenya) and again, it becomes government driven development model.