Rwanda marked the 29th anniversary of its liberation earlier this month. Known as Kwibohora, Liberation Day is celebrated annually on July 4. The Rwandan Patriotic Army, the armed wing of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), ended the genocide in 1994 against the Tutsi that claimed more than 1 million lives in the country.
"After the genocide, the economy was in tatters with many Rwandans living in poverty," said Gerard Rurangwa, a Rwandan economic expert, noting that "the situation has changed dramatically for the better."
The country has experienced tremendous changes in terms of economic development, due to good governance, security and economic reforms, he said.
Comparing the government budget in 1995, when the country was dependent on donors’ funding, with that for the 2023-2024 fiscal year, Rurangwa said the budget has increased by 90 folds to 5.03 trillion Rwandan francs (about 4.76 billion U.S. dollars) with 63 percent of it financed by domestic revenues.
Rwanda’s growth averaged 7.2 percent a year over the decade to 2019, while the per capita gross domestic product (GDP) grew at 5 percent, according to the World Bank.
This, Rurangwa said, gives the government confidence to map out its development path to become a middle-income country by 2035.
"The government’s commitment to delivering to the expectation of the citizens has transformed many people’s lives ... many regional commercial banks have opened up branches in Rwanda and several industries have been set up, creating job opportunities for the citizens," Rurangwa said.
The country’s economy was largely dependent on agriculture before the liberation. However, the manufacturing sector has been playing a bigger role in the past years, and the service sector has been on the fast track of development, contributing 47 percent to the country’s GDP in 2022.
Rwanda’s efforts in facilitating businesses, fighting corruption and maintaining security in the country make it attractive for investment, said Rurangwa.
Mukama Ngoga, another Rwandan analyst, said after the genocide in 1994, the government carried out reforms to revive the economy and fight poverty, which has promoted economic and social development in the country.
"The devastating impact of the genocide left the economy and all institutions in a fragile state, but with good governance, the economy was put back on track," he said, adding that the government’s commitment to fighting corruption was another factor in attracting foreign investments.
According to the Rwanda Development Board, Rwanda attracted two billion U.S. dollars of foreign investments per year on average in the last three years, up from 300 million dollars in 2010.