During the National Leadership Retreat (Umwiherero) that ended a week or so ago, one thing President Kagame told leaders in attendance was that the country could not afford the luxury of doing things the “normal way”.
He said Rwanda’s case was unique and needed unconventional means of approaching and seeking solutions to its challenges.
The key word that kept coming up was “urgency”. Leaders were urged to have a sense of urgency as there was no place for complacency, be it in service delivery or seeking solutions.
A case in point is the current drive to embrace a cashless economy as a form of payment, especially between government agencies. It will not only do away with bureaucracy and endless paperwork, but it is also a tool in plugging any loopholes that some unscrupulous officials could exploit to fleece the government.
Today, most government services have gone online to reduce the face-to-face interactions between service providers and those seeking it. While some services are still experiencing teething problems, it is only temporally.
Service delivery apart, the meeting also recommended that there was a need to accompany our nascent local manufacturing industries.
Already the “Made in Rwanda” campaign has got off to a good start, but local goods are crawling where foreign competitors are well ahead in the race.
In order to be really competitive on the local market, there is a need to change most people’s mindsets who think all local goods are inferior to imported ones yet they serve the same purpose and are of equal quality.
So by giving locals some form of advantage in government procurement processes, as suggested during Umwiherero, it is not unfair protectionist policies; call it affirmative action for our local industries.