Rwanda (Modern World Nations)

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To do development it is essential that a clear purpose be defined and established on what development is, and why development should be done. There needs to be a development philosophy so that the development enterprise might proceed with focus and direction. Amartya Sen, a great contemporary thinker from India, proposed that we consider freedom as the defining purpose in international development. Freedom here may be positively understood as part and parcel of order and form, constitutive of being itself necessary to human flourishing in the world spiritually, intellectually and materially.

It has been said that in the grand scheme of things, there are three things of perennial consideration to all of human knowledge and life. These things are God, the immortality of the human soul and the meaning of human freedom. It is a rich and textured concept. From this vantage point, the celebration of human freedom does not close the door on statecraft and leadership, and will not recklessly deny the equally important place of community life, of which the individual in her freedom is always in a creative dynamic relationship.

Indeed, statecraft may be more excellently pursued within the context where the freedom of the human person is respected and sealed in law and thought. This concept of human freedom comes to terms with something fundamental about what it means to be human. It acknowledges that there is a transcendent dignity to the human person. Human freedom is of profound religious, philosophic and moral value. But development, so considered, is not a mere philosophical abstraction, obviously.

The reality of human freedom can be most consequential for an individual and a people. It may be concretely manifested as political freedoms, economic facilities, social opportunities and transparency guarantees. It has to do with overcoming deprivation, destitution and oppression Sen 3. A society that would be free makes arrangements for education and other social amenities in order to deepen the celebration of freedom. A society that would be free is concerned with transparency and openness in the hopes of preventing corruption, financial irresponsibility and dishonesty 4. In the interest of a just social order, development, as freedom, encourages lucidity in all transactions and the guarantees of the rights to disclosure in assorted business and social relationships.

The freedom of economic transactions can be a great engine for economic growth. Development should be about the expansion of human freedom, giving men and women opportunities to exercise reasoned agency as responsible persons. But the exercise of freedom is mediated by values, and values are determined by the way a human person appreciates her world and her place in that world.

To speak of human flourishing is to get ever deeper into the question of the meaning and purpose to life itself. An inadequate worldview may contribute to values and social mores that affect the level of corruption in the society, the role of trust in relationships, economic, social and political Sen 9. Sen has acknowledged that many traditional societies have done just that. Notwithstanding anthropological admirer of past cultural legacies and traditions, these old ways of being in the world may have to be replaced to fully al- low individuals and communities to flourish and benefit from the fruits of development holistically considered.


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In other words, tradition and culture are not beyond the pale They are not, by definition, sacrosanct. A new social context may be required where there is a demonstrated commitment to the development of institutions that will promote human flourishing.

These will likely be institutions that will provide for a good education and for the maintenance of peace and good order. It is in this kind of community where individual freedom would be enhanced for the better, rendering the individual an active participant in community life, and allowing her to contribute meaningfully to community well being and well doing. Development must therefore work towards the removal of poverty, tyranny, poor economic opportunities, systematic social deprivation, neglect of public facilities and the repressive state.

Development, as freedom, is about people and their transformation and their search for an identity and a vocation. Development must provide for markets as a concrete expression of human freedom. The freedom of exchange is but a part of the basic liberties enjoyed by the human person. People must be free to exchange and transact for goods and services without let or hindrance so as to satisfy their needs for food, shelter, clothing and health.

Human freedom and rights, though valuable in their own rights and preceding economic progress, can be very effective in contributing to economic growth. Markets, however, do not preclude the role of social support, public regulation or statecraft when they can enrich, not impoverish, human lives Sen 6. One development thinker has said that development is not an end point but rather a continuous process Myers This is likely so because development has to do with human growth and progress. Different nations are at various stages of this continuum, and no one has quite arrived.

Rwanda, the African model of development under consideration in this article, is one such nation. This nation has, in spite of her tragic past, made remarkable progress by any measure Streeter and Mc- Naught Rwanda is now considered to be amongst the fastest developing nations in the world. Indeed, Rwanda is not a perfect model, but she is a good and reasonable one.

Additionally, while development may have critical universal features, it nearly always has society specific characteristics. Rwanda is a case in point. Rwanda is a model for African growth because she has demonstrated a commitment to cleaning up corruption and removing the usual barriers to private business investment in post-conflict and developing nations Streeter and McNaught The Rwandan leader- ship has a strong sense of constitutionalism and purpose.


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  • They know what they want to achieve. They are willing to learn and experiment to find policies that work for them. They are commit- ted to building a country of laws by devising an innovative constitution and growing a robust private sector along- side civil society institutions. In these ways, Rwanda is positively instructive to Liberian and other African thinkers and policy makers with interest in creating an efficient state and a successful country. Rwanda shows remarkable promise in her commitment to good governance and anti-corruption policies Streeter and McNaught She has a good track record of making government accountable, and has shown a demonstrated commitment to entrepreneurial activity, trade and a zero tolerance policy on corruption The Rwandan leadership appreciates that corruption has the tendency to suck the life out of any effort to improve governance and development.

    The leadership has made significant progress in reducing corruption and improving the business climate. This is a ranking higher then Italy or Greece. On the same index, Rwanda was ranked 89th in and 66th in These international standards show how careful Rwanda is to make progress.

    World Report Rwanda | Human Rights Watch

    Like a wise and discerning people, they have memorialized it. But this is not the only thing that they want to be known for either. The leadership in Rwanda has won praise for stamping out corruption, restoring stability and attracting investment to the country.

    They have rightly understood that corruption has a deleterious effect on economic growth Dourado, Shah and Rohac 5.

    Economic growth is not sustainable in a corrupt environment. The leadership also knows that it is easier to attract capital when you are honest. In their legal reforms, the Rwandans have introduced commercial courts so as to more quickly and efficiently deal with business disputes involving the enforcement of contracts 5.

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    The Rwandan leadership has sought to foster a change in the local culture that would embrace prosperity. Rwanda has a big dream. She wants to be the Singapore of East Africa. Like Singapore, Rwanda desires to leap from a Third World country status to First World in only a couple of generations. Rwanda wants to become an advanced, knowledge- based economy in East Africa, just like Singapore in Southeast Asia. Dourado, Shah and Rohac 3. Not surprisingly, the relative success of Rwanda is linked intricately to its tough, disciplined, forceful and principled leadership that has been able to foster national unity and grow a strong sense of self —reliance amongst the people in the country.

    President Paul Kagame has shown himself to be intellectually curious with a desire to transform Rwanda into a modern, prosperous country Dourado, Shah and Rohac 7. The govern- ment has aggressively recruited highly educated members of the Rwandan Diaspora, in many cases using their embassies abroad to vigorously seek out Rwandans and present them with attractive opportunities at home 6. These skilled professionals have given the reform effort in Rwanda a clear sense of direction and the required technical competence to execute those reforms.

    The ancient Chinese sage, Confucius, understood long ago that institutions are reflective of the individuals that make up those institutions. We are the state that we produce. The Rwandan leadership has recognized that the rule of law begins with them. President Kagame has said that corruption cannot be fought from the bottom, but must be fought from the top 4.

    The fight against corruption starts with himself and his high officials. This kind of thinking and being in the world has made accountability a part of the political culture in Rwanda. Government Officials can be dismissed or imprisoned if they fail to disclose conflict of interests.

    They are also required to sign a performance contract with the President detailing what they intend to accomplish in the coming year, and if they fail to meet their targets they can be removed from office 4. Rwanda has come a long way from a shattered social, economic, political and cultural fabric to the creation of new institutions that provide good foundations for the crafting of new rules and values to accommodate an inclusive leadership and meet the needs of the population.

    Rwanda has set up clear rules for the transition of local and national leadership. She has limited the term of a setting president to two. The constitution has institutionalized a power sharing arrangement, by decreeing that no one party can hold the office of the presidency and the position of parliamentary speaker simultaneously.

    It has also degreed that the council of ministers cannot be drawn from a single party. While not unduly weakening her governmental center, Rwanda has sought to broaden the concept of leadership by decentralizing and localizing responsibilities and accountability. The government has endeavored to implementbest practice regulation in its bureaucracies. It has legislated state-of- the-art public procurement regulations taken from the international trade laws. Through these and other measures, Rwanda has dramatically improved her institutional environment. The Rwandan government understands that a good legal system weakens the incentive to find a way around it, and helps to decrease the level of corruption in the society.

    Rwanda makes great progress 20 years after genocide

    But Rwanda is not satisfied with good legislation and good policies as impressive as these are. She has also sought to excellently and strictly enforce these laws, regulations and policies. The formation of the Rwandan Development Board has been very helpful in realizing policy objectives.