By H. E. Guillaume Kavaruganda, Ambassador of Rwanda in Singapore and in Indonesia, former member of Diplomat Magazine during his assignment in The Hague.
For so long, many people for so many times have considered the African Continent as a hopeless one. Africa, especially Sub-Sahara Africa, has been identified as a place whereby it is a common to find wars, genocide, diseases, illnesses, poverty, corrupted leaders, illegal immigrants and so on. Many have been wondering what was wrong with Africans and many good wishers have lost their patience and abandoned their noble causes. Can we blame them after those described negative qualifying adjectives? I do not think so.
But, if we look carefully, a starting point of change and hope is raising for the last 10 years. Let us not loose the momentum. Of course, all those negative adjectives that I described above can still be found in some areas of Africa, but let us avoid to go into harsh generalization.
Take an example of Rwanda. This small country, in East Africa, overpopulated with 12 millions habitants, who has succeeded in attracting so many investors and tourists due to its safety, clean cities and good governance. For the last 10 years, Rwanda has always been ranked number one to have a big number of women in Parliament (64%); in that tiny country, where you find easily very tall women and men, it has been a custom that in every decision making organs, at least a third must be women. This one example on gender equality is one among the many.
Few Singaporean investors have decided to make Rwanda their home. They did not regret their decision. The number of tourists from Singapore to Rwanda has increased by 8 in the last 5 years. Trade between both countries is also booming.
In 1994, Rwanda went through the worst genocide in the history of humanity; the genocide against Tutsi claimed over 1 million people in just three months. From the ashes, Rwanda is cited worldwide as a model in different fields.
The Rwandan example gives hope for Africa. If they did it why not other African nations cannot? It was high time for things to change in that desperate continent. As the saying goes ”better late than never”. Let us as well change our mindset on Africa.