THE days when we used to simply send raw materials abroad, without improving them, are behind us. It isn’t enough anymore to just send mineral ore and agricultural goods to customers out there because it is against our own interests.
Look at how some countries have become unbelievably wealthy when they are not even blessed with the kind of riches most African states have. It is my belief that this was because they were able to buy the raw materials, add value to them, and then sell them to the entire world- including to the people that sold them the raw materials.
The only way to break the poverty trap, we are currently in, is to take control of the industrial process and make it work for us.
That is why I was extremely pleased to read that a plant adding value to cassiterite, one of Rwanda’s leading minerals exports, before it is sold on the international market, was inaugurated recently.
This plant should be just the beginning. Instead of exporting coffee, maybe we should have coffee plants that export ready-to-drink instant coffee.
We must stop letting other people get rich off our resources while we wallow in poverty. Let us seize the initiative and make our resources work for us instead.