President Paul Kagame presided over the launch of Rwanda, Inc., a new book that showcases the country's journey towards becoming an economic model for the developing world.
Authors Patricia Crisafulli and Andrea Redmond at the launch.
Authored by New York Times bestselling author, Patricia Crisafulli and Andrea Redmond, the 256-page book was published on November 13 2012; it mainly focuses on Kagame's leadership style, describing him more as a company CEO than a political leader.
The book's launch in Kigali Friday evening at Serena Hotel attracted over 100 notable dignitaries from both the government and the corporate world.
Rwanda, Inc. received uttermost praise from Kagame, who described it as a "true and real account of economic issues in Rwanda."
"This story in Rwanda, Inc. is real - it is the story of Rwanda's transformation. It is no longer an issue of whether this or that will happen - the only question that people worry about now and want to keep working at, is the pace of development," Kagame said in his address to the guests.
"The problems of poverty and democracy go hand-in-hand and must be treated at the same time. The only medicine you will ever find for them is business, entrepreneurship and innovation. If you create a climate for functioning businesses and markets, then you treat the sickness of poverty and democracy."
The President further praised the book for shifting from the usual rhetoric represented from writers in the developed world who describe Africa as a failed continent.
"Many people in the West believe that Africa is a place of poverty, disease, conflict and all kinds of things - yet the truth is that Africa is of immense potential. All Africa needs is to get a few things right, by especially improving its potential for business and entrepreneurship," Kagame said.
"Success does not come cheap, it is not easy, yet it is a must. That is what I believe and that is what Rwandans believe. This is the story of Rwanda, where we have come from, where we are today and where we want to be".
Both authors told the audience that they were inspired to write the book after realising that Rwanda was a different picture from what it had been painted by several other books they had read.
"When I first traveled to Rwanda, I was astonished by what I found - it was far from what I had been reading. In a little spec of time, you find a building in a place where it wasn't. What seemed like pure exaggeration became a reality to us - a country dedicated to development," Redmond said.
Crisafulli added: "President Kagame operates more like a company CEO than a political leader. He is totally focused on the attainment of goals, building strong institutions, security, discipline and good governance, more like what a real corporate leader would do".
The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Louise Mushikiwabo, also commended the book for taking on a business angle, different from what many writers on Rwanda are focused on - the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis.
"I am glad that this book is not about the Genocide. Books on genocide are important but what I think is that Rwandans should not be seen only in the light of genocide. There is more to us than just the genocide," she said.
The book received mostly positive reviews from a variety of dignitaries, including former US President Bill Clinton, Stephen Kinzer, author of A Thousand Hills, Howard Schultz, the CEO of Starbucks, among others.
search firm as Senior Partner and was co-head of the firm's CEO and Board Services Practice. Redmond served in a variety of additional leadership roles while with the firm.
She co-led the Chicago office for over six years in which she had P&L responsibilities for the business which experienced significant growth and operating profits under her leadership.
Additionally, Redmond was a founding member the firm's Global Training Committee. She was also twice elected to serve on the firm's Executive Committee.
Praise for the book
"In Rwanda, Inc., Crisafulli and Redmond recount the rise of an unyielding people and their chief executive, President Paul Kagame. The Rwandans rallying around their national pride have built predictable systems that reward enterprise and hard work, and create an exceptional blueprint for other developing countries."- Bill Clinton, former US President.
"Crisafulli and Redmond investigate the Rwandan renaissance focusing on 'Rwanda's CEO,' Paul Kagame...a fascinating portrait of a nation and a president at a pivotal moment in history."- Publishers Weekly.
"Rwanda is the most amazing story in Africa - the fastest rate of poverty reduction ever achieved on the continent, despite huge handicaps of history and geography. Yet, until now, these achievements have largely been missed by the outside world. This book will awaken you to Africa's most extraordinary phoenix."- Paul Collier, author of The Bottom Billion.
"Rwanda, Inc. documents this beautiful country's ongoing transformation through the lens of leadership, capturing the resilience of the human spirit and the potential for any country-or company- to chart an ambitious new course with ingenuity, collaboration, pragmatism and passion."- Howard Schultz, Chairman, President and CEO - Starbucks.
"In the 21st century, finding ways to transform poor countries may mean the difference between war and peace. Any country that can provide a model for how to make a poor society prosperous will contribute decisively to global stability. This book suggests Rwanda may be building that model. Rwanda, Inc. is the story of the most exciting development project underway in the world today."- Stephen Kinzer, author of A Thousand Hills.
About 'Rwanda, Inc.'
The book looks at Rwanda's emergence on the world stage with a unique model for governance and economic development under the leadership of its strong and decisive president, Paul Kagame.
Authors Patricia Crisafulli and Andrea Redmond look at Kagame's leadership, his drive for excellence and execution that draws comparison to a CEO and emphasizes the development of a sophisticated and competitive workforce that leverages human capital.
The book describes how in Rwanda, the ultimate turnaround, strong and effective leadership has made a measurable and meaningful difference.
It depicts Rwanda's progress as an example to other developing nations to lift themselves out of poverty without heavy reliance on foreign aid through decentralization, accountability, self-determination and self-sufficiency.
The authors also explore Rwanda's journey towards its goal of becoming a middle-income nation with a technology-based economy, and its progress to encourage private sector development and foster entrepreneurship, while also making gains in education, healthcare and food security- and all with a strong underpinning of reconciliation and unification.
Rwanda, Inc offers a timely and fascinating look at the implications of Rwanda's success for the rest of the continent and the world, at a time when so many nations stand on the brink of political and economic revolution.