I think we need another vision. You know, one similar to Vision 2020 but even bigger and possibly better. You have to admit – the creators and authors of this national vision were genius in fostering social cohesion and a national sense of purpose.
For the last decade, from the hills in the country side to the high rise buildings in the capital, there has been a reverberation of the words “Vision 2020” amongst Rwandans. If there ever was an effective unifying
factor in Rwanda – this was it.
I particularly find amusing the hair salons, butcheries, secondary schools and even bars that bear the sign “Vision 2020.” Indeed, this vision is owned by every Rwandan and rightly so, thanks to the EDPRS policy paper, which in detail charts Rwanda’s ongoing journey from a low-income agriculture-based economy to one that will be knowledge-based and service-oriented.
My point though is (especially since we’ve become quite good at surpassing even our own expectations), why not embark on another equally exciting, novel,
comprehensive and unifying twenty year vision for our country?
Yes, I know... I am aware that this is akin to thinking about dinner before finishing lunch. It is also comparable to that impatient, over-enthusiastic kid who wants to start playing with his Lego toys, his race-cars and stuffed bear all at the same time.
But why not?
I stand to be corrected, but my reason for this is that we need to now focus on the little things because as everyone knows – they count.
We have made great strides in what I refer to as the “important stuff” – ICT, health, security, education and infrastructure, amongst other sectors, some of which have been exported to other countries as best practices. These particular sectors were key ingredients in setting the foundation for where we envisioned ourselves,
which immediately after 1994 were built from scratch, and each with the same sense of urgency.
I can imagine the sleepless nights and anxiety-filled days of
the Rwandans who were involved in this transformation, working with zero resources and in most cases, zero experience.
17 years later, having made this journey on guts alone, one can arguably state that Rwanda’s rebirth was truly a labour of love.
Today, even if we haven’t yet achieved Vision 2010, we have the luxury – albeit small – of focusing on the smaller things and tapping into our collective creativity and characteristic ambition.
This luxury comes as a result of the progress made so far, which allows for time to develop other areas. For me, this
includes areas such as the arts and theatre industry to start with.
We have so many stories to tell, but few times, if at all has there been a concerted effort to make this industry reach its potential and share those stories with the world.
As for Rwanda’s largely untapped talent; a tragedy. Imagine creating spaces where our future inventors can start tinkering around in order to invent the
next best thing, or sports academies that produce the next Maria de Lurdes Mutola.
Imagine writing academies that train and create the next Wole Soyinkas’ of Rwanda or establishing an institute equivalent of the Juilliard.
If we were to have another national vision, I hope that it would include the little things that count, which when combined with the bigger things, weave the
very fabric that connects us all as Rwandans.