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Tue Dec 6, 2016, 04:57 PM

And there is hope in the world: Rwanda: From killing fields to technopolis.

In these rotten times, it may be useful to learn how a great positive emerged from a humanitarian disaster on an unimaginable scale:

First-time visitors to Kigali, Rwanda's capital, usually remark that they cannot believe they are in a country that a little over 20 years was in the midst of a civil war. The 1994 genocide against the Tutsi resulted in the slaughter of up to one million people around 15% of the population. But the landlocked country is developing rapidly. Where gravel roads once dominated, paved streets are now the rule. Internet connections are fast and stable. Buildings are constructed at breakneck speed, and airy, reliably scheduled public buses and shuttles have replaced cramped, unpredictable minivans.

For Jimmy Gasore, a Rwandan physics graduate who left the country in 2011 to pursue a PhD at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, each trip home throws up new advances. For instance, the year he left, he had to spend ten hours on a bus to Uganda's capital, Kampala, to register for the standardized tests needed for his MIT application, but these exams can now be taken all over Rwanda an indication of the central role that the government has given to science and education in the country's development strategy.

Rwanda has used investment in science, technology and innovation as a springboard to grow and diversify its economy. Between 1996 and 2015, its per capita gross domestic product (GDP) more than tripled to US$1,756 outpacing some bigger and more resource-rich African countries with fast-growing economies, such as Kenya, whose per capita GDP merely doubled over the same period. As a result, Rwanda is often held up as a model of what can be achieved if clear ambitions are backed up with strong political leadership...

Rwanda's remarkable journey started after the genocide, when stitching the war-torn nation back together seemed like an insurmountable task. The country's economy, which was small and agriculture-based to begin with, was in tatters. Farm workers had fled their homes and abandoned their fields. Worse, the social fabric of the country had unravelled: schools, health centres, and water and transport infrastructure were in ruins, and survivors had to live alongside perpetrators.

Rwanda's new leaders realized that education, including science education, would be essential to the nation's rebirth...

...Rwandan President Paul Kagame, who will seek re-election for his third term in 2017, has driven the science push. After becoming president in 2000, one of his first moves was to appoint Romain Murenzi as science minister. The Rwandan mathematical physicist had been working on multidimensional continuous wavelet transforms which can be used in image compression at Clark Atlanta University in Georgia...



Nature 537, S4S5 (01 September 2016)

It's something to keep in mind while we enter a period of rule by racist fools working to stir up hatred.

Without Buchanan, no Lincoln. Without Coolidge/Hoover, no FDR. And without Trump, sure to be even worse than those two...well what... (We don't know.)

Without Bagosora, no Kagame...

If Rwanda can be reborn, so can anyone, and we have much farther to fall, fall as we do, to be Rwanda.

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