|Rwanda produces some of the world’s
best coffee, which is now being exported
to the United States.
A little more
than a decade ago, Rwanda was at ground
zero. Five years of civil war had culminated
in genocide, more than a million people
had died, and two million had fled into
exile. The social and economic fabric was
in tatters. Everything had been destroyed,
including our economy, says Prime
Minister Bernard Makuza.
Today it is
a very different story. A process of reconstruction
and national reconciliation has transformed
Rwanda from a basket case into one of the
most politically and economically stable
countries in the region.
of the past have been learned. Rwanda has
become a multi-party democracy with a referendum-backed
constitution that emphasizes national unity
and individual freedoms. In Rwanda,
democracy must be based upon the unification
of the people, says Mr. Makuza. We
consider Rwandans to be part of a singular
nation and leave no room for ethnic divisionism.
use of the massive foreign aid, Rwanda has
managed to boost its economy. High levels
of growth have been driven by agriculture,
which accounts for about 50 percent of the
gross domestic product (GDP), and by construction.
In the 2004/05 financial year, the GDP increased
by 6 percent. Structural
reforms have been introduced in key areas
through trade liberalization, privatization
of public entities, new tax laws, and the
rehabilitation of the banking sector.
plan designed by President Paul Kagame,
Vision 2020, seeks to turn Rwanda from a
low-income into a middle-income country,
focusing on poverty reduction, infrastructure
development and expansion of the export
the growth it needs, Rwanda has to move
away from being a largely subsistence economy
which is heavily dependent on agriculture.
The nation must concentrate on becoming
a services-oriented economy that maximizes
the contribution of its most important asset,
being put on the sectors in which Rwanda
has huge potential, such as information
and communication technologies (ICT), transportation,
and tourism. At the same time, the government
aims to turn the agricultural sector into
a bigger profit yielder by encouraging agro-processing
and the export of value-added products.
Nshuti, Minister of Finance and Economic
Planning, says, We want to expand
our industries and exports in high value
areas. Simply exporting raw materials does
not allow us to do this.
for growth will be the private sector. Though
privatization, the government is separating
itself from commercial activities and focusing
on being a business facilitator. As
a government, we do not believe that it
is our role to be in business, says
the Minister of Finance, Professor Nshuti.
We think it is important to provide
the right environment for the private sector
to do business.
Prime Minister of Rwanda
Minister of Finance and Economic Planning
President of African Development Bank
There is a huge
need for foreign investment in all areas
of the economy. The government understands
that it will only come if there are stable
conditions and good governance, and if risks
are reduced and costs are made competitive.
The new Rwanda
prides itself on good governance. President
Kagame has made it very clear that corruption
will not be tolerated. Transparency
and accountability are the keys to our system
of governance, says Mr. Makuza.
Rwanda was one of the first countries to
agree to an assessment under the peer review
mechanism instituted by the New Partnership
for Africa's Development (NEPAD).
year, it met the criteria for the Heavily
Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative
and became one of fourteen African nations
to have their multilateral debts absolved
by the World Bank, the International Monetary
Fund, the African Development Bank and other
international financial lenders.
of the debt removes an enormous burden on
Rwandas economy, freeing resources
for expanding infrastructure, education
and health, and creating a better environment
for private investment.
has created an environment of macroeconomic
stability, one that is conducive to private
businesses and the creation of sustained
economic growth, says Dr. Donald
Kaberuka, President of the African Development
Bank and a former Rwandan Minister of Finance
and Economic Planning.
now is to sustain this trend of growth so
that it can keep up with the increasing