Rwanda: 30 Years of Prosperity and Unshakable Foundations

As Rwanda stands on the cusp of another electoral season, I find myself reflecting on the extraordinary journey my country has taken over the past thirty years.

It's a story of transformation that reads almost like a myth but is a reality--a testament to the unyielding spirit of Rwandans and the visionary leadership of President Paul Kagame, who has guided us through adversity.

Coming back home at the age of seven, I was confronted by a post-genocide society. There were no schools to speak of; as an extroverted child craving friendships and laughter, I was met with empty classrooms and silence.

The roads in the city were a maze of potholes and dirt, and electricity was a luxury. Shops shut their doors by 3 PM, cloaking us in isolation and scarcity.

It was a time when Rwanda was synonymous with despair and destruction. A country that few people could point to on a map was written off as a failed state, a classic example of social, political, and economic structures that had collapsed.

The scars of those days ran deep, cutting through the heart of our nation. Everyone was looking for hope. Families were torn, communities shattered, and the economy was left in ruins.

Thirty years later, Rwanda has risen, not just to survive but to thrive. The journey has been difficult, with many challenges and obstacles that seemed impossible to overcome. Yet through determination and resilience, we have built a nation that stands as a beacon of hope and progress.

The social and economic transformation of Rwanda has not been accidental; it has been a result of deliberate and strategic efforts across multiple fronts. Under the leadership of President Paul Kagame, Rwanda has embarked on a path of sustained economic growth, social cohesion, and political stability.

We have seen the emergence of Kigali as a hub of innovation and development. Our economy is one of the fastest growing in Africa, a testament to the sound policies and environment created for entrepreneurship to thrive.

Investments the government of Rwanda has made in healthcare and education have paid immense dividends. Life expectancy has risen to 69.6% from 51.2% in 2002. Our children are more educated than ever before.

The community-based health insurance scheme, Mutuelle de Santé, ensures that healthcare is accessible to all, while our schools and universities are producing the leaders and innovators of tomorrow.

The maternal mortality rate has decreased from over 1,000 in 2000 to 203 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2020, currently standing at 100 deaths per

100,000 live births. Community Health Workers have played a notable role in achieving a 90 percent reduction in national malaria incidence per 1,000 from 2008 to 2023, reaching 47 per 1,000 population, with a prevalence reduction of 90 percent.

Today, Rwanda is often cited as one of Africa's cleanest and safest countries. Our commitment to environmental sustainability and our ambitious vision to become a green economy by 2050 are just a few examples of the forward-thinking approach of our leaders.

Perhaps the most profound change has been in our social fabric. The government's relentless focus on unity and reconciliation has fostered a sense of collective identity and purpose. Programs aimed at dialogue, forgiveness, and remembrance have healed wounds and built bridges where once there were chasms.

As we prepare to vote, there are whispers from those who aim to undermine our progress. Detractors of Rwanda seek to disrupt the peace and prosperity we've achieved. However, they underestimate the resilience of the foundations we've built over the past three decades.

The strength of Rwanda today lies not just in its economic achievements but in the spirit of its people, especially the young generation that makes up majority of the population. Today a big portion of Rwanda's population is under the age

of 25. This youthful demographic is driving innovation, entrepreneurship, and social change. The resilience that carried us through the darkest days is now our greatest asset. The unity we have fostered is our shield against division. The progress we have made is a testament to what can be achieved when a nation stands together.

As we head to the polls in a few days, we do so with a sense of pride in what we have accomplished and confidence in what lies ahead. For my brothers and sisters, especially those voting for the first time, this sense of pride is profound.

Rwanda today represents hope, resilience, ambition, respect, and value for many young people. It means taking part in a future where their voices matter and their contributions shape the nation. The challenges are still there, but the foundation is strong. Our story is one of transformation and triumph, a beacon of hope for what can be achieved through unity, resilience, and visionary leadership.

Our next chapter is poised to be one of continued progress and prosperity. The foundations laid by our leaders are unshakable, and our resolve is unyielding. As we march forward, we do so with the knowledge that no matter the challenges we face, we will overcome them as we always have--together, as one Rwanda.

The author is a communication professional.

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