Rwanda's development praised

Former British Secretary of Overseas Development Claire Short has warned Rwandans to remain resilient as the country is facing many challenges to overcome poverty.

Ms Short who is currently a member of parliament said she foresees better future for Rwandans with the current leadership if Rwandans could be committed to their development projects.

"Rwanda has seen remarkable changes in the past 14 years due to good leadership. I feel very optimistic for the future of Rwanda," she said.

She applauded progress made by farmers in the southern province towards improving their standards of living through coffee growing.

Ms Short was quoted by The New Times saying: "We have seen lots of coffee processing centres, which is very important to rural communities and there has been lots of enthusiasm because there is commitment to improve quality of coffee and price," she said indicating that proceeds have also improved.

She said Kigali, Rwanda's capital has developed structures in town.

Though she has not visited any of the current campaign rallies in the run up to the next parliamentary elections, she said that the feeling she got was that women would emerge stronger once again.

British parliamentarian said Rwanda should be proud of its gender policy by observing that Sweden had been on top of the world in terms of female parliamentary representation, and now it is Rwanda with 49 percent.

"Rwanda knew it wanted a new spirit in politics, an inclusive kind of politics and bringing in women would have been meaningful on how to change the atmosphere," she said.

"We need such advice from people like her speaking from experience and knowledge. We are really honoured by her visit," said Joseph Kabakeza, Director of Bilateral and Multilateral Cooperation with Rwanda's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Ms Short has chaired talks between President Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Yoweri Museveni of Uganda in 2001 to defuse tensions between these two countries.

Rwanda will hold first presidential elections in September since 1994 mass killings that left an estimated 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus dead.

President Paul Kagame, a Tutsi who heads the Rwandan Patriotic Front, seized power in the central African country in 1994 and has led a transitional government ever since.

Jean-Louis Kayitenkore
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