The Rwandan Republic wants to boost its economy with events. This ambition of Rwanda has made it the second largest African city in terms of number of events hosted in 2019. Thus, organisers from all over the continent and the world do not hesitate to choose this country for international conferences, sports tournaments, concerts etc…
Kigali, the capital of Rwanda and the economic and administrative centre of the country with a population of about one million, is declared by the United Nations (UN) as the best capital and cleanest city in Africa. Indeed, cleanliness is one of the most important factors in choosing a country to host major events. Rwanda has understood this so well. With its paved roads and healthy neighbourhoods, Kigali is a model of urban development for other African countries. This remark is attracting the attention of many people and event organisers around the world. In the capital, one is quickly struck by the beauty of a city where rigour and discipline reign supreme in matters of cleanliness and ecology. It stands out from the large cities of sub-Saharan Africa because of its well-maintained roads, well-designed avenues, and better-controlled urbanisation.
Events to boost the economy
Paul Kagame’s country therefore has quality infrastructures to attract visitors. According to Janet Karemera, Deputy Director of the Rwanda Convention Bureau, the contribution of the event industry to the national economy is significant. If you look at what we have done in terms of safety, in terms of cleanliness, in terms of investment and infrastructure. When someone arrives from the airport, they can take a taxi, they can go to a hotel of their choice with different budget aspects, from five stars to the lowest. If you look at what the events industry contributes to tourism, it’s about 13% of what it contributes, and 22% overall to the national economy.
For example, before the health crisis, according to government figures, conference revenues had jumped by almost 40% between 2016 and 2019. The proliferation of new infrastructure over the past six years, including the Gahanga cricket stadium and the 10,000-seat Kigali Arena, the largest indoor venue in East Africa, has helped to develop this nascent sector. Huge funds are also being invested to develop Rwanda’s national airline and build a new international airport on the outskirts of the capital. Heavy investment in infrastructure has contributed to Rwanda’s debt, which has risen from 15% of GDP in 2010 to almost 54% in 2019. Major events in 2022 such as the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) make the Rwandan government optimistic.
The rebirth after the murderous genocide of 1994
Rwanda has made dramatic progress in terms of development since the genocide and civil war of 1994. According to the United Nations, the conflicts in Rwanda have claimed nearly 800,000 victims. Many people today wonder how the country could have reached such a level of advancement after these momentous events in history. Indeed, the authorities of this East African country exploit unity and social cohesion as the basis for their country’s development. Since 2001, the poverty rate has fallen, life expectancy has doubled and the primary school enrolment rate has risen to 98%. Looking closely at Rwanda’s development indicators, it is hard to believe that only 25 years ago, the country of a thousand hills was the scene of the last genocide of the 20th century. The kind of progress that suggests that anything is possible with the right vision and hard work.