Rwanda is among the top 10 countries in Africa excelling in economic growth, improving healthcare and attracting greater foreign and domestic investments, a new report by UK-based public policy research group says.
Rwanda ranks ninth on the latest Legatum Institute Prosperity Index, behind Senegal, Ghana, Algeria, and Namibia. Botswana tops the ranking and is closely followed by South Africa, Morocco, and Tunisia.
The report, entitled Insight on Africa: Special Report, shows that economic growth, improving health standards and greater foreign and domestic investment, among other factors, are having a positive impact on prosperity on the continent.
Prof. Dan Chirot, a member of the Legatum Institute International Advisory Group, who authored the report's preface, said sustained economic growth recorded in many African countries over the last 10 years present a strong case for optimism about econmic prosperity.
"There is still too much corruption and civil strife, but the changing general situation augurs well as these reports guardedly show," Prof. Chirot said.
After investigating changing demographics, safety, and corruption in 38 African countries, as well as assessing Africa's performance in the Millennium Development Goals, the Legatum Institute has ranked the countries based on their overall level of prosperity.
National wealth and wellbeing were also among the eight sub-categories that were surveyed.
Positive prospects on the continent include current generation of working-age adults with relatively few elderly persons and a falling birth rate, improved health standards as infant and childhood mortality drop, as well as sustained fight against HIV/Aids and malaria.
In trade and investment, the report says raw commodities still make up most African exports, but adds that foreign direct investment is expanding.
"Doing business is still a challenge, but there are real improvements in Kenya, Uganda, Ghana, Rwanda, and even Nigeria," Prof. Chirot said.
He argued that small improvements that have been realised after governments have undertaken business and governance reforms have attracted both foreign and domestic investments.
Rwanda steps up:
Rwanda has experienced a jump from 13th to 9th in the ranking this year, with strong gains registered in entrepreneurship and opportunity, governance, and health.
Dickson Malunda, a Kigali-based development economist and senior research fellow at Rwanda's Institute of Policy Analysis and Research, said Legatum Institute's assessment is "true".
He cited the country's improved laws of doing business among efforts that have helped create more jobs. He also encouraged government to keep initiating pro-poor policies that lead to inclusive economic transformation.
"Things on the ground are a result of reforms that have been done over time. The indicators show that Rwanda has been doing well and the next challenge should be about transforming the economy to ensure that the positive changes translate into improved livelihood," Malunda said.
Experts at the Legatum Institute have advised African states to undertake serious reforms, build better institutions, and improve education as well as general infrastructure if they want to keep their progress.