Rwanda is a small and beautiful landlocked country located at the crossroads between East and Central Africa. It borders the Congo (to the West), Uganda (Northeast), Tanzania (Southeast) and Burundi (South) and is affectionately known as The Land of a Thousand Hills. It is about the size of Vancouver Island or Maryland, but its over 10 million people make it the most densely populated country in Africa.
“Rwanda’s President, Paul Kagame, is the face of emerging African leadership. His reconciliation strategy, management model, empowerment of women in leadership and insistence on self-reliance are transforming a failed state into one with a bright future.”
–Time Magazine, The World’s 100 Most Influential People in 2009
In 1994 Rwanda was destroyed by one of the worst genocides in modern history. Nearly one million people were killed, the equivalent of three 9/11s every day for 100 days. 3 million people fled as refugees, its treasury was looted, and its institutions were decimated. When the genocide ended, Rwanda was no longer a country.
The story Rwanda’s recovery over the past sixteen years is truly inspirational. Against all odds Rwanda has restored peace and security, returned 99% of its refugees to their homes, and implemented a unique form of restorative justice called Gacaca to deal with its huge backlog of criminal cases.
“(Rwanda’s) strategy relies on wealthy and powerful friends to lure private investment, train a new generation of managers, build a globally competitive economy, and wean the country off foreign aid. Just as the Asian Tigers arose as export-led, middle-income economies in the 20th century, Rwanda wants to become the African Gorilla in the 21st. It seems crazily audacious — and Rwanda’s leaders know it.”
–Jeff Chu, Fast Company Magazine, March 18, 2009
Today Rwanda has average 7% economic growth and was recently hailed as the 8th easiest place in the World to start a business and the top global reformer for 2010 by the World Bank. It is safe and clean, has low levels of corruption (Transparency International), is rapidly increasing in infrastructure and institutions, and aims through its Vision 2020 Strategy aims to transition Rwanda from a primarily agrarian society to the dominant service providing economy in the region by the year 2020.
This will happen primarily through investment in education, business development, and trade and Rwanda is actively engaging entrepreneurs from around the World to come and see for themselves and explore opportunities to invest.