Boldness is critical to grow, a lesson from Rwanda

As I sat in the Kigali’s airport yesterday waiting for my plane to head off to Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, I reflected upon the amazingly positive impression I had about Rwanda. What impressed me the most was their ability to design and implement a comprehensive agenda for growth, knowing what their capabilities are as a country and where they should focus and allocate resources: the Rwandan people.

In talking to the Rwanda Development Board, the key takeaway was the “boldness” the leadership of the country has had in making important yet critical decisions that would favor regional integration with other Eastern African countries and promote the growth of the country’s most important resource for competitiveness: its people. Their experience has shown how important and effective decisions lead to the desired output even if, at first, you have no capability to do so. It happened when the country decided to change it official language from English into French, or when the Rwanda Development Board banned all paper-based applications for new business in 2014. People learn, people grow, and people adapt.

We then headed to visit Think, a technology incubator in Kigali, focused on tech-based start-ups. The thirst for entrepreneurship based on human capital is impressive, and the structure the country has put together to boost entrepreneurship should be seen by others as an example to de followed.

At the end of each visit, our hosts thanked us for having chosen Rwanda as part of our Study Tour. I would say it is quite the opposite. We thank them for receiving us, giving us the opportunity to see in real life what our professors told us back in Cambridge, and understand what the challenges are in the ground. Finally, and most importantly, I thank Rwanda for letting me be inspired by their courage and by their ability to grow in such an organized and effective way.

I hope to be back soon!

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