In the past, Rwanda has relied heavily on coffee and tea as its main exports to the world.
However, in the last 24 years, great ambition, aspiration for dignity and independence, and pursuing excellence in every endeavor have become Rwanda’s greatest export and have led to the remarkable strides in development that we have witnessed.
They have also become a cultural way of being, as they have spread quickly from the leadership to the daily lives of the Rwandan people.
It would not be an understatement to say that Rwanda’s remarkable growth, its professionalism in organization, and the dignity and self-value preached by its leadership have made it stand out as a country that practices what it preaches i.e. the pursuit of excellence.
The global image of the country has changed dramatically from the dark days of 1994 and, indeed, the whole of post-independence Rwanda.
Today, peace, security, stability and collective ambition have paved the way for accelerated and unforeseen social and economic development, a source of praise and even envy from across the globe.
Peace, security and stability, together with the image of excellence in endeavor are slowly but surely contributing to the achievement of one of the pillars of the Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy 2 (EDPRS), which says that the country aims to “transform the private sector by increasing investment in priority sectors.”
As the American businessman and philanthropist, Howard Buffett, said, “no investor wants to invest where you don’t have stability and predictability. Most investors want reasonable predictability, Rwanda provides exactly that.
Indeed, investors and global partners are beginning to view Rwanda’s work over the last 24 years as great evidence of a sustainable success story that many want to be a part of.
The last 24 years of hard work and dedication from its people, have proven to be a better argument for investment than that which abundance in minerals or large expances of land could provide.
President Paul Kagame himself has stated that “In Africa today, we recognize that trade and investment, and not aid, are pillars of development.”
It is important to recognize here of course an embedded sub-message that says that our relationship with global players must be dignified and not condescending.
We deserve to create partnerships that are not patronizing in nature or take advantage of us, but rather for mutual benefit.
As we look to the future where we no longer have to rely on foreign aid to develop, partnerships should stem from respect that has been gained from sovereign and independent thinking and subsequent actions.
And judging from the most recent history, it is true to say that Rwanda has made great strides in strengthening key bilateral ties that prove our seat at the global table has become even more influential.
We only need to look at the last three months in which President Paul Kagame has met with President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, President of China Xi Jinping, and Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, who have noted the need for partnership and strengthening relations and cooperation.
It is in view of this that the President of China, Xi Jinping noted, “Rwanda has increased its regional and global influence under Kagame’s leadership and continues to set an example for countries who face similar tasks of development.”
RDB’s sponsorship with Arsenal Football Club is another example of pursuing excellence. The ‘Visit Rwanda’ campaign managed to capture one of the most premier international sponsorship opportunities available.
Pulling of such a deal isn’t possible without an ambition to reap the best possible rewards. It is a reflection of an attitude that says, we do not accept average results, but only the best possible representation of how we do things.
This culture must now permeate everything we do, especially for us the youth. We must follow the example set over the last 24 years, which says: aim high, think big, and ignore the naysayers.
Focusing on our own development has brought us thus far. Strong and beneficial bilateral ties and prosperity from investment will continue, as long as Rwanda and its people continue to pursue excellence both at home and on the global stage.