EDITORIAL: Alibaba did not choose Rwanda without reason

Definitely the gods have been smiling down upon Rwanda all week, otherwise, the country would not have managed the euphoria caused by a barrage of good news.

The first good news did not come as surprise since it was a result of deliberate efforts to improve our lot. Ever since the World Bank began publishing the Doing Business report, Rwanda has been improving its performance in every edition.

This year it went even better by leapfrogging from the 41st position last year to 29th globally. It was the best performance by a low-income country.

A day earlier, the Mo Ibrahim Governance Index picked Rwanda among the ten best-governed countries on the continent. It took the top spot in the areas of transparency and accountability, gender inclusiveness, business environment and rural sector development.

All the above achievements did not fall from the sky; it was out of sheer hard work, sane leadership and pure grit. It is the kind of performance that attracts attention and Jack Ma and his Alibaba Group were not to be left behind.

A good business person knows a good deal when they see one. For Alibaba it was not about business alone; it saw Rwanda’s potential and determination as a suitable port of entry into the continent. Choosing the country as the launch pad for the Electronic World Trade Platform (e-WTP) Africa was not an afterthought.

Rwanda, on the other hand, sees the potential of getting a foothold on the massive Chinese market, especially in tourism, while at the same time giving its young entrepreneurs an opportunity to learn from the best.

This week’s icing on the cake was news that the US Food and Drug Administration had given L.E.A.F Pharmaceuticals the green light to begin clinical trials on four new cancer drugs.

The company was founded by Rwandan scientist, Dr Clet Niyikiza, who, incidentally, is a member of President Kagame’s advisory team. Does one need to go any further? This is a country definitely on the roll and the gods are still smiling.