Magazine article New African

Rwanda Hosts WEF Africa and Presents the Benefits of Good Governance: Rwanda Did Not Miss a Trick When It Came to Promoting the Country to Well-Heeled Delegates from around the World at the World Economic Forum's Africa 2016 Summit in Kigali

Magazine article New African

Rwanda Hosts WEF Africa and Presents the Benefits of Good Governance: Rwanda Did Not Miss a Trick When It Came to Promoting the Country to Well-Heeled Delegates from around the World at the World Economic Forum's Africa 2016 Summit in Kigali

Article excerpt

The 1,200-odd international and African delegates attending the World Economic Forum on Africa 2016 were ferried along an immaculate, landscaped main road from Kigali's airport to an array of hotels, observing along the way new hotels and offices under construction, orderly traffic and litter-free streets.

At the entrance to the custom-built tented conference venue, the government had on display banners outlining the country's achievements. "Rwanda: 2nd easiest place to do business in Africa", said one, referring to its ranking in the World Bank Doing Business 2016 Report.

"Register your business in six hours" said another, referring to one of the main areas of delivery measured by the report.

This was not just window dressing for the high-profile event. Over the next few days, the successes of Rwanda's economic and development programme were woven through the many sessions and debates about African economies at the conference.

The backdrop to Rwanda's current success is the horrific genocide just over 20 years ago. President Paul Kagame said at the event, and has said many times before, he wanted to ensure that although Rwanda had lost its past, it would not lose its future.

The fact that the country has been able to rise from the ashes of that horrific time to become one of Africa's most successful and progressive countries is testament to resolute, determined and dextrous leadership.

A key element of this has been the ability not just to draw up a vision of what needed to be done but to then implement plans and programmes to realise this vision--something that most African countries have been poor at, a fact that was raised more than once at this forum too.

In one innovation, the head of the Rwanda Development Board, which is a one-stop shop for investor needs, is a cabinet minister.

Rwanda's long-term development goals are defined in a strategy entitled "Vision 2020". The strategy seeks to transform the country from a low-income agriculture-based economy to a knowledge-based, service-oriented economy with a middle-income country status by 2020.

President Kagame has focused many of his economic projects on overcoming the disadvantages of the country's size, its limited natural resources and its landlocked situation. The president has led from the front, setting policy in key areas of need.

One of these is energy. In 2016, 24% of the population had access to electricity; the government plans to increase this to 70% by 2018. The plan is to achieve this by attracting new investment, not just into traditional energy sources such as hydropower, which provides about 60% of power currently, but into alternative energy sources, such as solar power and geothermal energy.

An integrated rural electrification strategy is in place and the government has positioned itself to take some of the risk, introducing a facility to provide up to 10% of the investment in projects and assist with working capital.

With current generation at 155MW, sceptics have questioned whether this can be more than tripled to 563MW within three years to meet the output goal set by the government.

But President Kagame is a determined man. Shortly after the end of the WEF event, he inaugurated the KivuWatt Power Plant on the shores of Lake Kivu, which many had said could not be done because of the high levels of potentially explosive methane gas deep in its waters.

An innovative floating power plant, built by US energy company, Contour Global, converts that gas into power and since December 2015, it has been generating 26MW into the national grid. The target is to have 100MW from Lake Kivu by 2020. The resource promises power generation of more than 500MW over 40 years, according to the government.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

The African Development Bank's Sustainable Energy Fund has approved an $840,000 grant to introduce renewable energy grids to be implemented by the state energy utility. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.