Like Rwanda, Singapore – the first nation visited by President Paul Kagame on his current four-nation Asian trip – is not known for having significant amount of gold, diamonds or oil.
But today, the Asian state is an inspiration to the developed world and a role model to many of developing countries – including Rwanda – for her resilience, innovativeness and hard-work that resulted in tremendous improvement in the quality of life of her people.
The secret behind the success is nothing but investing in people, education and training. Singaporeans understood earlier that in them lay the resources that would propel their economy to where it is today, and beyond. Huge investments in human capacity development and a fitting citizens’ mentality has now paid dividends.
Singapore also moved fast to take advantage of the advent of ICT. The country is now a respected service and transport hub, a feat that was largely fuelld by the growth of strong customer care, business and financial services.
Similarly, the post-Genocide Rwandan administration has pursued policies aimed at transforming the economy from agriculture-based to a service and knowledge-based one.
For some time now, the Government of Singapore has closely worked with Kigali in trying to develop the local workforce, and this partnership contributed to the creation of Rwanda Workforce Development Authority (RwODA).
Then, through the Human Resources and Institutional Capacity Development Authority (HIDA), the Government of Rwanda is also currently conducting a nationwide comprehensive skills audit, cutting across the public and private sector as well as the civil society.
No doubt once this exercise is completed the nation will ascertain the existing gaps in all the segments, which must then be bridged if we are to make the Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS) a reality.
What we need is for us all to provide the required data for the success of that exercise.