I have seen beauty salons, barber shops, restaurants and other public places bearing the name “Vision 2020”. Even the famous Bushombe of the educational radio comedy, “Urunana”, presents himself as Vision 2020.
I often wonder whether these people consciously and deliberately choose to downplay the vision of our country or whether they simply regard it as a sound bite, a popular catch phrase, or petty name for some obscure concept.
Let it be told: It is the first time our country has a vision of the future, and it is home-made. Vision 2020 is a long-term development path for Rwanda with ambitious goals to be reached by the year 2020.
It is an expression of our common purpose as Rwandans and our aspirations as a country. We aim, through this vision, to mould our country into a middle-income country with a per capita income of $900 in 2020, a poverty rate of 30% (from 60.4% in 2000) and an average life expectancy of 55 years (from 49 years in 2000).
We envisage a country proud of its fundamental values, politically stable and without any form of discrimination among its citizens; a country in which the Rwandan people are united, healthier, educated, prosperous, and are in a position to compete favourably in the region and beyond.
It should be recalled that the pillars on which our Vision is built are: the reconstruction of the nation and its social capital, anchored on good governance and underpinned by a capable state; the transformation of agriculture into a productive, high value, market oriented sector; the development of an efficient private sector, characterized by competitiveness and entrepreneurship; comprehensive human resources development, encompassing education, health, and ICT skills; infrastructural development, entailing improved transport links, widely accessible energy and water supplies and ICT networks; and the promotion of regional economic integration and cooperation.
Surely, these are noble goals and ideals that no one in their right mind should seek to minimise or ridicule. Instead they should inspire us and spur us into action. The big question is: Is our Vision achievable, or is it just a dream?
Vision 2020 is certainly more than a dream (and if you needed to know, the biggest human achievements started as a dream) but we must understand that nothing happens by magic!
The ongoing transformation of our country should be a lesson to all Rwandans. We should understand that if there are factors that have shaped our recent past, those same factors can help us to determine our future and inform us that Vision 2020 is not only desirable, it is realisable.
Those of us who cling to routine must make a choice to break with old habitual patterns and face the future with confidence. It is the individual Rwandan, you and me, who must be the catalyst for continued transformation of our country.
What we need now is concerted effort, more self-sacrifice and sufficient will to cause it to happen. Concerted effort on the part of every sector of our society: political leaders, the private sector, religious organisations, civil society, in our villages and in our towns.
Without the resolve and commitment of everyone, our vision will take longer to realise. And it should have become abundantly clear that when Rwandans come together in shared purpose, they can move mountains.
So, let us all buy-in our Vision 2020, contribute to its realisation and face the future with hope. Let me finish with the words by President Kagame in regard to our Vision: “Like all achieving societies whose success is generally inspired by a shared purpose, our Vision 2020 constitutes a bond that holds Rwandans as a people, determined to build a better society.”