Towards the end of 2015, a colleague and I embarked on an epic journey to Rwanda. Esaja was selected as one of 3 African startups to be a part of Millicom’s Kigali based Think Accelerator. The opportunity to work out of an East African nation like Rwanda was nothing short of amazing. A nation that confronted one of the greatest tragedies of modern times is emerging as a centre of innovation and economic progress. We spent 3 months living & working in Kigali, touring the nation and regional countries like Uganda & Kenya. Impressed by its leadership, people and progress, this is our picture story of the nation that is leading Africa towards a big & bold new era:
Rwanda Is Remarkably Clean
We’d heard stories before but seeing it first hand was incredible. There were days I wished I had a magnifying glass to zoom in on what I was seeing. It’s possible to roam for kilometres and kilometres on end in Kigali without seeing a single piece of paper. Kudos goes to the Government and Kigali’s City Council for taking the lead – Rwanda actually banned the use of plastic bags (The first country in the world to do so). Kudos to Rwandans too for playing their part in making Rwanda Africa’s cleanest nation by far. We also leant that the first Saturday of every month is dedicated to cleaning up the nation through an event called Umuganda.. Everywhere from fancy neighbourhoods to high density areas is squeaky clean. We have nothing but respect for the army of ladies that sweep the streets consistently every morning. We’ve been around this great continent and will never forget what we saw in Rwanda.
Rwandans Are Super Friendly & Hospitable
Murakoze! Hello! Rwandans are welcoming and friendly. It never takes long to feel at home, your definition of hospitality will be taken to new levels in Rwanda. You’re free to explore and be one with this great nation. After a long day’s work or on a sunny weekend, be sure to ask about Brochettes , Panache (for non drinkers), Primus (for beer drinkers) or a simple Citro soda. There are plenty of spots to wind down, all in total safety and peace of mind.
Rwanda Is So Serious About Technology, Even Their Money Says So
Everywhere you go, ICTs and how they can transform not only Rwanda but Africa is the buzz. This nation overcame it’s landlocked status by building a national fibre optic grid. It also greatly encourages investment in the sector. Data costs in Rwanda are amongst the cheapest in Africa. USD1gets you a whole gig of data from MTN, TIGO and Airtel – the 3 mobile operators. There are also a number of 4G ISPs and companies like the Pan African Telco, Liquid Telecom is building fibre to the home infrastructure. No other nation in Africa has so much unity of purpose in Telecoms as Rwanda. The Government and private sector speak and act the same language.
Many Nations Preach About Combating Corruption – Rwanda Acts!
Want a permit or need to register a company, go online and do it! Every government services in Rwanda is online. There’s zero tolerance to corruption even police services are applied for online. If you need any national services in Rwanda, you must go online, apply and then go to a bank to deposit the service fee. When obtaining the actual services, a receipt is ALL that’s required and an online check is made. That’s It! Rwanda is an example many nations must follow, technology is a critical partner in the fight against corruption. There’s no greater comfort than to have been part of a nation in which every dollar is accounted for.
Yes, There’re Probably 1000 Hills In Rwanda
Rwanda isn’t famously known as the land of a thousand hills for nothing. The entire nation is a delightful expression of curvy hills. This makes Kigali in particular, a breathtaking city to explore.