Rwanda 22 Years Later: Progress, Challenges, and Opportunities
On April 27, 2016, the Wilson Center Africa Program hosted Rwanda 22 Years Later: Progress, Challenges, and Opportunities, a conversation with H.E. Louise Mushikiwabo, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of the Republic of Rwanda, as she reflected on Rwanda’s progress, challenges, and opportunities in the economic, political, and security spheres at the national, regional, and international levels.
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On April 27, 2016, the Wilson Center Africa Program hosted Rwanda 22 Years Later: Progress, Challenges, and Opportunities, a conversation with H.E. Louise Mushikiwabo, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of the Republic of Rwanda, as she reflected on Rwanda’s economic, political, and security trajectories over the last 22 years and into the future.
The discussion was wide-ranging, covering a number of topics, including Rwanda’s path toward justice and reconciliation in the 22 years since the devastating 1994 genocide; its vision for economic development and transformation over the last two decades, including its emphasis on building human capital, promoting access to basic health, and promoting regional integration and cooperation; and the modification and transferability of that ‘model’ of economic growth and transformation. In the political sphere, Minister Mushikiwabo touched on Rwanda’s success in promoting women’s leadership, particularly in Parliament, and its contributions to international peacekeeping efforts, both of which have been lauded internationally. The discussion between the minister and participants also touched on concerns about political governance and inclusiveness, media freedoms, and human rights, as well as concerns about Rwanda’s international role in the Great Lakes Region.
Ultimately, she said, the underlying concept guiding Rwanda’s choices and its path of rebuilding has been the concept of dignity and self-worth. “Across Rwanda today, you will hear one word quite often: agaciro, the Rwandan word for dignity,” she said, “the concept underlying many of things we do—from taking care of our health and education, to our economic well-being. We as a nation believe it’s important to keep and preserve our values, the most important being this sense of dignity,” she said. She also spoke about the importance given to unity, governance by consensus rather than confrontation, and the importance of balancing justice with reconciliation in the immediate post-genocide era.
For the minister’s full remarks, please see the accompanying recording above.
This event was livetweeted. Follow the Africa Program on Twitter @AfricaUpClose and catch up on the conversation with the hashtag #Rwanda22years.
The Africa Program works to address the most critical issues facing Africa and U.S.-Africa relations, build mutually beneficial U.S.-Africa relations, and enhance knowledge and understanding about Africa in the United States. The Program achieves its mission through in-depth research and analyses, including our blog Africa Up Close, public discussion, working groups, and briefings that bring together policymakers, practitioners, and subject matter experts to analyze and offer practical options for tackling key challenges in Africa and in U.S.-Africa relations. Read more