It is inconceivable to imagine that just 13 years ago, Rwanda’s GDP per capita was $221. At the height of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, it was a paltry $ 131.
With its economy, infrastructure and social amenities in tatters – on top of losing over a million lives – getting back on its feet would need considerable efforts.
One of them was to design ambitious economic and social policies; but above all, it was pulling out all the stops to achieve them: What President Kagame calls “thinking big”.
2016 was a year where “thinking big” began paying visible dividends. Many positive things happened and many results were registered; but that would require its own chapter.
But turning to the economic and social theatres, over a million people were lifted out of poverty, and a rare feat occurred; our trade deficit was reduced by 5 percent, thanks especially to the promotion of the “made in Rwanda” brand.
Tourism figures shot up, the Kigali free export zone began to churn out export goods and manufacturing what we previously imported. All that contributed to the reduction of the trade deficit.
Now, back to our GDP topic, which will inform us whether by 2020 we will have achieved our target of transforming into a middle income country, with a GDP of at least $1,240?
Figures from the first two quarters of 2016 indicate that Rwanda registered a 6 percent growth; four times what the rest of sub-Saharan Africa, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
So with all confidence, and all matters constant and keeping with our strict economic discipline, the finish line is in view. We just need to keep the momentum.