Kinyarwanda has this very rich range of simple proverbs to explain complex philosophies. One such proverb is “Ufite ikirezi ntamenya ko cyera”. In simple terms, people tend not to appreciate what they have simply because they have taken it for granted.
That is a state of mind many Rwandans seem to be slipping into. It takes a visiting foreigner to open their eyes to what a beautiful, clean and organised country they have.
It would be a very good bet to say that very few Rwandans have visited the Kigali Special Economic Zone. They are not aware of many industries that have sprung up or relocated there.
Fewer even have heard of Kigali Innovation City and the good things happening there and those in the pipeline. Not only is it home to the new campus of the prestigious Carnegie Mellon University Africa, but both the African Institute of Mathematical Sciences and the African Leadership University are also setting camp there.
By the time the technological hub is completed, it will be worth $2 billion. At the recent Africa Investment Forum in South Africa, it garnered a lot of interest and one partnership has already been sealed.
But very few Rwandans are part of that exciting journey. That is a state of affairs that should cease.
Both the Kigali Innovation City and the Special Economic Zone should be part of the school calendar, the same as natural endowments such as national parks. The young should learn to appreciate what they have and the hard work it needs to achieve it. Things should not be taken for granted.