While celebrating the achievements of Vision 2020, the new Vision 2050 sets new targets that make everybody realise that the development of Rwanda is just starting and there is still a long way ahead.
Eradicating poverty and becoming a high-income country by moving from the current GDP per capita of about $800 to $12,476 in 2050 seems impossible for many.
It will require a sustained 10 per cent of annual economic growth for the next 30 years.
Often, many things seem impossible only because our minds are set to think so, and become possible with different mindsets.
In history there many examples of many broken mind barriers. In aviation, for example, once it was believed that no airplane could fly beyond the speed of the sound.
Many attempts resulted in accidents until some engineers believed it could be possible and invented new aerodynamics technologies and jet engines. What is known as the ‘sound barrier’ was broken in 1947 when an aircraft was flown at supersonic speed.
Vision 2050 is pushing Rwandans to accelerate development by breaking some established rules or mind barriers, as President Paul Kagame put it so well recently while explaining on how Rwanda is charting its own path: ’We don’t follow rules, we follow choices. There is no rule book for us. If things work for us, we celebrate. If they don’t, we don’t blame anybody. We look back and ask where did we go wrong’.
Undeniably, Rwanda has a visionary leader with a ‘supersonic’ mind who undoubtedly believes that things are possible. Nobody could have imagined that Rwanda would have launched its own space satellite ’Icyerekezo’, less than 25 years after the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi.
In this regard, when minds are set to core values and principles of Unity, Think Big and Accountability, as often emphasised by President Kagame, mind barriers are broken and people start to think differently by focusing more on positive and effective things such as: wealth creation instead of poverty reduction; abundance instead of scarcity; we-together instead of me-alone; global instead of local; long term instead of short tern; exponential instead of linear; next generation instead of next position, etc.. These new mindsets will chart paths to Vision 2050.
Like an ocean fed by rivers and water streams, a national vision will become reality when fed by local, organisational and individual visions from different levels and sectors. In the same way, it is important to have defined local and sectoral visions, respective strategic plans and time-framed targets for every province, district, sector, cell and village, and in all sectors such as education, health, infrastructures, environment, industry, ICT, etc., to feed into the common national vision. The sustained annual economic growth of 10 per cent will be achieved easily and faster if all individuals, organisations, private or public entities at local and national levels concomitantly strive to increase their income or outputs by at least 10 per cent annually.
People working together and implementing coordinated plans of action is crucial to producing exponential outcomes. Examples of public and private initiatives such as the construction of classrooms of Nine-year Basic Education Programme in districts or the construction of multi-billion CHIC Complex by local traders in Kigali City show that Rwandan people working together could realise big projects or investments, otherwise impossible to individual entities, single companies or the state alone.
Today, new digital technologies, as enablers, allow people to innovate, do new things, increase productivity and accelerate change. Mobile phones have created new opportunities and turned people’s lives around. Rwanda aims to become knowledge-based economy by 2035 and an active player in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. However, the digital transformation requires citizens to become digital literate and for public and private institutions to digitalise their systems and processes to improve services delivery. Effective digitalisation accelerates growth. That is why, the introduction of the integrated digital IDs and mainstreaming cashless and paperless operations become urgent now than ever.
In closing the 16th National Leadership Retreat (Umwiherero 2019), President Kagame called upon national leaders to turn things around, get positive attitudes and start to see things doable. Bringing the private sector and youth around the leadership and decision making table, will without a doubt, make a big difference in finding solutions to major national problems, such as poverty and unemployment.
Vision 2050 is creating a new paradigm in which Rwandans are called collectively to break mind barriers, think big, act differently, accelerate change, realise exponential growth at all levels and in all sectors; and build a country (Rwanda) we all want and deserve.
The writer is a Development Expert and Author of the Formula for