Rwanda has transformed into one of the fast developing countries and one of the easiest places to do business in the world because Rwandans had no alternative but to move up after the country had sunk so low after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
The comments were made on Saturday by President Paul Kagame while speaking at the 2019 Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) Entrepreneurship Forum in Abuja, Nigeria.
Rwanda is the 29th easiest place to do business in the world according to the 2019 World Bank Doing Business index of the world’s most business-friendly economies which assessed 190 countries.
Areas in which Rwanda is leading include the ease of registering property, quality of credit information systems and procedures, ease of starting businesses and paying taxes, as well as access to electricity.
For President Kagame, the current achievements were possible because steps were made to change people’s mindsets and invest in critical areas like knowledge creation and skills development, basic infrastructure, as well as good governance.
“There were no alternatives for us. We had to do it because, looking back in time for our country, we sank so low that there was no lower point to go. The only way to go was up,” he said.
“We had to find ways of making sure that Rwandans understand that they have to be there for themselves. That goes for other Africans I’m sure. We have to do our part. Even if we get assistance we use it to make sure that we strengthen ourselves and then build on that,” he said.
Kagame spoke at the forum alongside President Macky Sall of Senegal, President Felix Tshisekedi of DRC, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo of Nigeria, and Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda of Uganda.
The forum provides an opportunity for young women and men, from all African countries, to meet, learn and network with the broader African and global entrepreneurship ecosystem.
The Presidential panel aimed at allowing African entrepreneurs in attendance to closely engage with political leaders and learn first-hand the important role the government can play in catalysing growth and encouraging business ambition.
One of the key challenges mentioned by the young business entrepreneurs includes access to funding in order to implement their business projects.
The two-day forum is the culmination of the annual Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme, which this year mentored, trained and seeded over 3,000 young Africans, selected from over 200,000 applicants.
Twenty-five Rwandans are among the selected participants. The Rwandan entrepreneurs are, among others, involved in agriculture, tourism, transportation, manufacturing, healthcare, and education.