Rwanda’s Immigration department has been one of the country’s unsung heroes for quite some time.
While they are not at the forefront showcasing the crucial role they play in national development, their work is undeniably a pillar for Rwanda’s progress.
On Wednesday, the Immigration department was pronounced the winner of the 2009 African Association for Public Administration and Management (AAPAM) Award after having submitted its innovative Online Visa Application for the contest.
Amid the World economic crisis, African Governments had to re-examine the efficacy, readiness and appropriateness of their regulatory institutions.
It was evident that in order to confront the crisis squarely and decisively, public administration and management systems had to be improved.
And, this is exactly what the Immigration department was recognised for.
By setting up the online entry, the department opened up Rwanda’s doors, easing the way into the country for tourists and investors.
Just by logging onto the internet, an applicant submits their details and gets a response within a maximum of three days.
Such a strategy may appear to be simple, but for a tourist or a business person, the shorter the bureaucratic procedures, the more attractive the package is.
Say for instance an international organisation is searching for a venue to hold a conference, there is no doubt such an innovation will contribute to Rwanda being the preferred destination.
By coming up with such an innovation, the immigration department consolidated the work of fellow public institutions such as Rwanda Development Board (RDB), whose success is partly measured by either the number of tourists or investors who have visited the country.
Looking at statistics from the Tourism office, approximately a million visitors came to Rwanda despite the economic downturn.
That said, thumbs up to the Immigration department.