Why Rwanda wins world prizes

On September 9, the Doing Business Report

of the World Bank Group ranked Rwanda as

the world's top reformer in creating

a business friendly environment.

The report also showed that within one year,

Rwanda jumped from number 139 to

number 67 out of 186 countries

sampled – almost jumping 60 positions.

No country in the world has ever managed

such a feat.

Uganda also made a jump but

in reverse – from number 111 to 112.

The key areas of reform considered by

the report include starting a business,

employing workers, getting credit (legal rights),

protecting investors, registering property,

closing a business and trading across borders.

According to the report, Rwanda is the

5th highest ranking African country after

Mauritius (17th), South Africa (34th),

Botswana (45th) and Namibia (66th).

How has this poor and obscure country

beaten Africa's giants like Ghana, Kenya,

Nigeria, Senegal, Tunisia, Egypt

and Morocco in being open for business?

The critics of Rwanda's current leadership

must be biting their nails.

On April 20, Time magazine nominated

President Paul Kagame among the 100

most influential people

in the world – alongside Barack Obama

and Gordon Brown.

Writing the commentary on the nomination

was Pastor Rick Warren, the most respected

evangelist in America – now

an advisor to Kagame.

On July 16, the World Technology

Network (WTN) had nominated Kagame

as the world's best policy leader in

advancing the use of new technologies.

Later, Newsweek editor Fareed Zakaria

told CNN in an interview that

Rwanda is Africa's most successful

nation – when Barak Obama was

singing Ghana.

Zakaria who also hosts GPS program

on CNN is among the most intellectually

minded journalists in the world.

This September, I was at the University

of Oxford's Said School of Business

in an Africa leadership program.

The program brings together 20 Africans

in their mid-30s who have made

a mark in the corporate world to spend time

sharing ideas on leadership on the continent.

Throughout our discussions,

Kagame was being cited by everyone,

fellows and the visiting lecturers alike,

as the exemplar of good leadership.

When I attended the Australian business

leadership retreat in August 2008,

Rwanda was referred to by almost

every major speaker.

When I went to China for the World

Economic Forum meeting in September 2008,

the CEO on Intel gave me a ride from

my hotel to the conference hall.

I told him I was from Uganda

but he thought I said Rwanda.

"You have a great president in Rwanda,

" he told me, "He is mentioned at every

technology conference I attend.

Rwanda is too poor and small a country

to have such a profile especially in

the area of technology.

How have you done it?"

For a moment, I was tempted to associate

myself with success.

I decided to be honest.

I am from Uganda, I said, Rwanda is

our neighbor to the south-west.

"That country seems to be going nuts,

eh" he said, "And your president doesn't want

to leave power, huh?"

So what product has Rwanda given

to the world that everyone is buying into?

The answer was given to me by Joe Ritchie.

After making hundreds of millions of dollars

as a commodities and options trader in Chicago,

Ritchie has now settled in Rwanda

as advisor to Kagame and CEO

of Rwanda Development Board.

What would make a successful

multi-millionaire leave his exciting business

to come live and work in this impoverished nation?

"I have a fund," Ritchie once told me

as we sat down to a cup of coffee,

"It is just my own money that I invest

in companies on the basis of the character

of the CEO, that's the only thing I look at.

I don't look at what sector they're in,

I don't look at their sales projections,

I don't look at sales growth, I don't look at

anything except the character of the CEOs.

I picked about 60 or 70 companies out

of the hundreds and hundreds of them

and I bought their stock.

This fund outperforms the market regularly."

What has this got to do with

Rwanda's growing international reputation?

Ritchie met Kagame at a dinner organised

through a friend.

"And in five minutes, I knew there's not another

head of state on the planet like this guy,

he's just unique."

Ritchie has met many world leaders

from across all the continents.

"I think politicians are all crooks," he told me,

"But this man (Kagame) was clearly different.

He is honest, sincere, genuine and straightforward."

"I realized I can sell this man to the private sector,

" Ritchie went on, "I can't sell him in Washington.

Washington doesn't care if you do right

or wrong.

In fact they like guys that are on the take,

because then they can control them

with money.

I mean Washington is the biggest payer

of bribes on the planet.

Generally, they don't appreciate honest

straightforward heads of state, because they

can't control them.

But I know that in the private sector

there are people that would appreciate it.

"I took a list of the companies whose CEOs care

about character," he continued,

"We began introducing Kagame to CEOs

on my list of companies and others

we knew by reputation were very good guys.

Soon we had introduced him

to five people that knew President

George W. Bush personally.

If you know a CEO or someone that's been

very successful and he calls up

the White House and says,

you know what, there's a little country

called Rwanda, and a guy named

Paul Kagame that runs it, and you need

to focus on that guy because they are going

to go somewhere, you pay attention.

And if a second one calls, you say, wow.

Well, by the time three or four

or five call, it's all over."

We are told repeatedly that only

one mortal human being has the competences

to lead Uganda.

If Kagame had remained here,

he would still be one of the many people

we would be told has no capacity

to make a good president.

The lesson is that NRM and our country

are teaming with many talented people

who can make good presidents.

Do not stifle them.


Link here

             J-L K.
Procurement Consultant
Gsm:    (250) (0) 78-847-0205 (Mtn Rwanda)
Gsm:    (250) (0) 75-079-9819 (Rwandatel)
Home:  (250) (0) 25-510-4140
    P.O. Box 3867
  Kigali - RWANDA
    East AFRICA
Blog: http://cepgl.blogspot.com
Skype ID: kayisa66

No comments:

Post a Comment