EDITORIAL: The region can help save Burundi

This week, the World Bank office in Rwanda posted an interesting tweet on the eve of a visit by their Managing Director who also happens to be the Chief Operating Officer.

This week, the World Bank office in Rwanda posted an interesting tweet on the eve of a visit by their Managing Director who also happens to be the Chief Operating Officer.

It read; “Rwanda is one of the few countries in the world to have achieved a “triple crown”: combining growth, reducing poverty, curtailing inequality”. Those few lines described Rwanda’s journey in a nutshell.

But the journey was wrought by obstacles that only a disciplined approach could overcome. Many economists like to cite Rwanda as an example of what disciplined economic policies can achieve.

It is not drawing up policy blueprints that did the magic; it was putting them into action, walking the talk step by step so that nothing was left behind. But the cornerstone for the foundation was peace and security, the key ingredients to prosperity.

However, Rwanda also learned how to become a pioneer and pace setter. When it came to strengthening and easing regional trade, it led that way by eradicating trade barriers, red tape and opening up our doors to skilled manpower.

It championed building up cross-border and inter-regional trade before leapfrogging to Europe or Asia, because this region is our lifeline.

Therefore, it must be worrying for our economic architects when they look across at what is unfolding in Burundi.

Already the border communities are starting to feel the strain; movement has been curtailed, business is low and refugees are coming in droves.

That is why our gaze should not shift from Burundi in these trying times that could threaten regional security and cause dire economic consequences. In unity there is strength: Burundi only needs to turn to its neighbours for help and it will be forthcoming, for they will not lie watching as it slips into abyss.

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