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  • Jon Purizhansky

The Progress in Rwanda

Jon Purizhansky says that Rwandan economy is the fastest growing in Africa. In 1994 Rwanda experienced horrible.

Genocide that can be compared to the worst massacres in human history, including the Holocaust. So, what’s behind Rwandan economic successes?

Jon Purizhansky says that in the year 2000, Rwandan government established Vision 2020, a long-term development strategy with its main objective to transform Rwanda into a middle-income country by 2020, based on a thriving private sector. Since then, the Rwandan economy has been growing steadily at seven percent every year, making Rwanda Africa’s fastest-growing economy.

After the 1994 genocide, Rwandan economy had been basically destroyed, but through the process of economic reconstruction, it began growing faster than the economies which are already developed. Jon Purizhansky says that it’s important to notice that President Paul Kagame's leadership has played a huge role with respect to economic and political stability the country has enjoyed since 1994. Economic development would have been impossible without the political stability

Amazingly, under the leadership of Mr. Kagame, Rwanda has been able to attract substantial volumes of direct foreign investment in its economy.

Rwandan government additionally has established infrastructural institutions that would help it achieve its objectives enshrined in Vision 2020.

The Rwanda Development Board (RDB) was put in place in 2009 to help oversee the country’s business regulations, foreign investments, tourism promotion, environmental conservation and broader economic and development planning.

Jon Purizhansky notices that 2017 Corruption Perception Index ranked Rwanda the third least corrupt country on the African continent behind the Seychelles and Botswana. The country is no longer just a rural agricultural economy, but it boasts a number of manufacturing and high tech companies. Its business friendly legislation and general environment has contributed to the diversification of Rwandan economy.

According to the 2019 World Bank Doing Business index, Rwanda is the 29th easiest place to do business in the world - the only low-income country (LIC) in the top 30. Further, in 2018 the RDB registered over US$2 billion-worth of investments. Around 173 investment projects worth US$2.006 billion, against a US$2 billion target set for the year, were registered, according to an RDB press release.

Jon Purizhansky points that an estimated 26 percent of all investment represents export-orientated projects. Across the different sectors, manufacturing, mining, agriculture and agro-processing accounted for 57 percent of investments registered. Tourism, healthcare and business services have attracted substantial investments as well. Building up its middle class is key priority for the Rwandan government and, according to Rwandan Household Living Conditions Survey, one millions citizens has been pulled out of poverty between 2005 and 2011. From 1994 until 2017, Rwandan GDP per capital grew 6 times!

Nevertheless, Jon Purizhansky says that 39 percent of the population lives below the poverty line and 16 percent lives in extreme poverty, according to government statistics. Hence, the government’s biggest challenge is still to eradicate poverty and create jobs.

Rwanda, under the leadership of Mr. Kagame, has also increased its diplomatic activity. What’s particularly noticeable, according to Jon Purizhansky, is its recent alliance with the State of Israel. Since both nations suffer tragic past, a natural affinity had developed between Israel and Rwanda. When President Kagame held talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, they discussed opportunities for partnerships in the sector of agriculture, energy and education. Rwanda has been learning a lot from the Start up Nation of Israel. Israel established an embassy in Rwanda and Israeli investors, military and economic experts are commonplace now. Jon Purizhansky says that Rwanda May turn into the African version of the startup nation and eventually turn into an African powerhouse.

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