Finance Minister James Musoni and Prof. Manasseh Nshuti, President Paul Kagame’s Senior Economic Advisor, Thursday proposed that the country follows the 1960s and 1990s East Asian Tigers’ fast path to rapid development.
They made the proposals at Parliament buildings in the just concluded Sixth National Dialogue Conference, a two-day event that brought together Rwandans from different walks of life, especially those in leadership positions, to discuss and share ideas on national issues.
“There are lessons we can draw from their experience since there are things that they did which we are also doing,” Musoni said towards the end of his presentation on the Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS), an operational tool redefining the country’s priorities.
The Asian Tigers, the economies of Hong Kong, South Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan are noted for having maintained high growth rates by pursuing an export-driven model of economic development and especially improving the education system at all levels as a means of improving productivity.
He explained that just like the Asian Tigers shored up the private sector, Rwanda was also doing the same and is also working on other areas, including education, commercial productivity especially with export produce, domestic savings and checking population growth.
The government of Rwanda has embarked on having a Private Sector driven economy this is being done through fostering Public Private Partnerships (PPPs).
“Most important was that they all had one vision on the direction they wanted to take and they implemented.”
“What these lessons show us is that it is possible for us too,” he said, emphasising that it is clear that there are things they did to be able to speed up development, and in one generation, were able to move from poverty to riches.
Amidst applause, he suggested that the meeting endorse Rwanda’s espousing of a similar path and become “the African Tiger.”
Though largely agreeing with the minister’s proposition, Nshuti, himself a former Finance Minister, had a slight but crucial additional fine-tuning.
“The other thing Musoni said and I support very much, is us becoming the African tigers, but we must find economic triggers of our own,” Nshuti said.
“They had their own triggers but which ones (triggers) are Rwanda’s? I think that in this conference, we should identify our own as well since we can replicate some of theirs but not all of them,” he pointed out.
Development took centre stage as the National Dialogue commenced, the subject being set in motion by President Paul Kagame’s emphasis, and urging Rwandan leaders to focus on how the nation’s development can be fast-tracked.