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Last Updated:[22-12-2009 23:32:14 EDT] Zoom in Zoom out Back to Tradenews

Fading Memories of Vendetta and Resolve to Coexist Transform Rwanda

tradenews Rwanda has become a model to many countries of endless conflicts to perceive the significance of reconciliation and co-existence. The former US President, Bill Clinton’s proposal does not become rhetoric while he said that Israel and Palestine should learn from Rwanda’s post-genocide reconciliation model.

Though no one guarantees there would not be any flare up once again in the future, but today’s Rwanda definitely depict a picture of living harmoniously by burying the emptiness of violence. Furthermore with a hope of restarting their lives all over again though they had to live among the same people who killed or maimed their loved ones. The people of Rwanda have come to terms to discern that the conflict had left behind only a trail of destruction and despair which they themselves had to rebuild with limited resources.

Today Rwanda is all set to re-write history as the economy is growing at a faster a pace despite not having diamond mines, oil reserves or minerals as compared to its neighbors. Tourism is the vital industry, and Rwandan government is inclined on pursuing eco-friendly projects to power the economy.

Paul Kagame, Rwanda’s president understands there is a lot of work to do to reboot the economy, with the per capita income being less than $550 and daily wages hovering around $1.25. Towards this goal, he has ordered everyone to begin work at 7 AM and to come in for a half-day on Saturdays. Besides, all adults are asked to do community service on one Saturday of every month, often president joining them in work.

It has been estimated close to 1mn people or 20 percent of the population was killed fifteen years ago when the Hutu majority perpetrated genocide against the Tutsi minority. Mostly women bore the brunt by falling victims to rape, revenge and HIV/AIDS; and the genocide orphaned about 100,000 children.

Ironically, the country has now a higher female representation among legislative bodies of 2008 elections to become the only legislature in the world where women are in the majority. On gender issues, Rwanda now ranks first in the global gender parity ratings, followed only by Sweden and Finland.

Though the country faces a host of issues such as poverty, poor infrastructure and low power generation, the government has set ambitious goals to overcome these soon with the support of international organizations including the UN, the Commonwealth and various other non-profit ones. One of the notable achievements is that Rwandan education system has recovered remarkably well, at least quantitatively to register rapid growth of enrollments at all levels.

Moreover, Rwanda has drawn investments from companies as diverse as Costco, Microsoft and Starbucks, which opened an office in Kigali to train farmers to grow high-end coffee more efficiently. Korea Telecom’s $7.66mn project to provide broadband wireless service in the capital town of Kigali is another example to the increased presence of several companies vying to utilize business opportunities in the country.

Rwanda is looking to export dairy products, software, computer services, fruit and juices, silk and fresh-cut flowers in addition to the shipments of coffee and tea. However, the resolve of 10mn population to palliate the feeling of vendetta within the old enemies of Hutu and Tutsi ethnic groups will decide as to how this East-Central African state will rise from the ashes of its own people.

By Jose Roy

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