Of “Rwanda The Emerging Economy To Watch” and the terrible, presumably unintended , distortion of reality and the insidious perpetuation of western clichés of Africa and its countries.

While in the article published by ‘Forbes Africa’, under the title “Rwanda The Emerging Economy To Watch”, (https://www.forbesafrica.com/economy/2018/12/05/rwanda-the-emerging-economy-to-watch), the author of the article – for all his good intents and purposes – given the overall tone of the article, in his fair judgement, using and applying a foreign yardstick handed to him – looks at Rwanda “as an emerging economy to watch”, and although this, on the outset, appears and may indeed, read as innocuous, it nonetheless makes a terrible error of false assumption based and thus drawn on the prevailing western standards of measure, purposely developed and used to create a distorted view of reality, to serve and perpetuate western interests and agenda.

The undeniable reality is that Rwanda has always been not only an economy with unparalleled potential but sadly one deliberately ignored; and for so long, by most part of the world.

But the tides are turning, the attitude rapidly changing and thus, suddenly, fortunes discovered and are everywhere, every inch, nuke and cranny of Rwanda. And, lo and behold, Rwanda is the attention of every fortune seeker, every fortune maker, which is a tremendous feat of achievement in itself on the part of those who have been at the forefront and worked tirelessly, to bring about this change in perception and attitude toward Rwanda by the rest of the world. And it is, without a doubt, one that is necessary!

But that said, maybe the [a fitting] headline ought to read: Rwanda, the economy, we (the West) and most of the rest of the world, have for so long been ignorant to and about, obviously at our economic peril. But thanks, in no comparable measure and huge credit to Rwanda’s government and leadership, our eyes have been opened and what an economic opportunity our limited world view has blinded us from for this long!

Because to claim that “Rwanda” is “The Emerging Economy To Watch” is to imply, quite falsely of course, and whether intentionally or not – patronising – that Rwanda has either been, until now, a ‘submerged’ or ‘invisible’ economy that is suddenly or miraculously rising or emerging from some archaic, pre-stone and pre-economic ages.

Of course, this view, presupposes the absence of and not a well-planned and deliberate agenda by the government and leadership of Rwanda that has worked with a definiteness of purpose, persistence, and an ever unwavering desire to transform Rwanda’s state of affairs and socio-political and economic stock for the last nearly a quarter of a century now.

While we, Rwandans may be tempted – largely and unfortunately due to the usual and mainly negative conditioning and propaganda about Africa we are constantly subjected to by and through western media and other channels with an equally similar insidious agenda – to welcome and laud this story as some breath of fresh air towards and about Rwanda, and by extension, Africa, we should take it with a little pinch of salt and not let it beguile us into not seeing the slanted and, quite frankly, trite and patronising common clichés it perpetuates. Whether it is by intention or default, is a moot point!

For instance, a) by what measure is Rwanda a ‘tiny’ country?

b) ‘Tiny’ from whose and what perspective?

This is, of course, a common and seemingly accepted cliché that is allowed to go unchallenged but yet has far more, sometimes if not most times, damaging impact on the general perception of and toward the country.

‘Tiny’ is obviously both relative and subjective! It is dependent, largely, on one’s view[s] and scope and [often skewed] sense of reality, for, and it must be borne in mind that, really, there’s no such thing as ‘universal’ reality of anything; but rather only sense and terms of reality based upon agreed factors and boundaries which are, in and of themselves, subject to change because more often than not, they are premised on flimsy and fickle standards of measure.

So, ‘tiny’, would only make sense if it is qualified; for instance – and one suspects this is what the author of this article meant – given that it is the widely and often applied meaning: “Rwanda is a geographically, that is, by land mass, tiny, country” but that does not in any way and necessarily mean, Rwanda is tiny in either its aspirations and/or indeed its attitude and desire and spirit of its people to equal and/or indeed, better anyone, any country, anywhere on planet earth.

One cannot help but take umbrage at such blatant and, truth be told, lazy, perception of other people, a nation that is as capable as any other, irrespective of the land mass!