The New Year in Rwanda started with a bang. In Kigali, fireworks were launched across the capital as thousands took to the street to welcome 2018.
For many, the illuminating skyline of Kigali, including over the iconic Kigali Convention Centre, Mount Kigali and Mount Rebero, as Rwandans rang in 2018 was more than just a spectacle of fireworks display and symbolic way to usher in the New Year but it somewhat mirrored Rwanda’s story of recovery from the brink and hope for a bright future.
In his New Year message to the nation, President Paul Kagame said 2017 had been a good year for the country, citing the strong performance of the economy, continued security and wellbeing of Rwandans among the positive aspects.
Indeed, many socio-economic indicators show that Rwanda performed strongly in most critical areas last year, helping to set the stage for the next generation of the national economic blueprint as the country edges closer to the EDPRS II and Vision 2020 finish line.
With the agriculture sector growing at 8 per cent despite the invasion of the fall armyworms and drought in parts of the country, and the Made-in-Rwanda campaign triggering a 50 per cent increase in the country’s exports and a 3 per cent drop in imports, last year, there is every reason to be optimistic that Rwandans will continue to make headway in the New Year.
However, there is need to continue investing in critical areas of the economy to truly unlock the country’s potential. These include quality education and skills development, job creation especially for the youth, local production, and energy generation.
But the responsibility to address these issues should not be left to the Government alone. The Government’s role will certainly remain key to the success of development initiatives but there is need for the private sector to play a more important role than ever before if we are to adequately tackle the challenges that lie in the country’s development path.
To achieve our objectives as a nation, everyone, including the ordinary citizen, needs to step out of their comfort zone, embrace a new thinking and understand that the difference they want to see in their lives will only come if they roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty doing what needs to be done.
Working together as a people will see the country achieve its aspirations.