A look into Paul Kagame: Forbes’ 2018 African of the year

Late last year, Forbes Magazine released its shortlist for the 2018 African of the year and it was non-other than Paul Kagame, the current President of the Republic of Rwanda who is also the current Chairman of the African Union, an organization comprising of all African countries except Morocco.

If you are familiar with African current affairs, you’d expect a magazine of unquestionable reputation like Forbes to choose its pick from Africa’s business leaders given that most African Political Leaders are often despots who feed of the troughs of suffering African masses, enriching themselves whilst the people they lead suffer. Why then did Forbes choose Kagame? What makes Kagame special?

The answer to that is simple, Kagame is a different type of African Political Leader, a unique type of leader. He is a man who not only has a heart for his country but is largely concerned about the wellbeing of Rwandans. Kagame can be described as the ideal model for an African leader. If all African leaders loved their countries as much as Kagame loves Rwanda, we’d be at a better place socially and economically as a continent.

Paul Kagame was born on the 23rd of October back in 1957. He became the President of Rwanda in 2000 after the resignation of Pasteur Bizimungu, who was his predecessor. Before becoming President, Kagame commanded the rebel force that helped end the Rwandan Genocide(a very dark time in the history of Rwanda) that resulted in the death of almost 1 000 000 Rwandans.

Soon after becoming the President of Rwanda, Kagame set up a policy framework that above all prioritized national development. His Presidency was backed by a vision that aimed to develop Rwanda into becoming a middle-income country by the year 2020.

So far, his vision has been bearing massive fruits as Rwanda is country among the fasted growing economies on the African continent with the economy growing by 7.7% in 2018 and a 12% growth in Industrial Output in the same period.

Apart from the impressive economic growth of the Rwandan Economy, Kigali, Rwanda’s capital is considered the cleanest city in Africa. The reason why this is so is that Kagame used a principle known as Umuganda meaning contribution to institute what has been called a ‘compulsory community service’ once every month in which all Rwandans have to participate. During this day, everyone gets to help clean up their communities.

What makes the principle of Umuganda so brilliant is the act of involvement because once you take responsibility for the dirt in your community, you won’t contribute to the littering any more.

There are so many things to Kagame and his success with Rwanda but for now, let us take our turn to say congratulations to Paul Kagame for being chosen as the 2018 African of the Year.

Kigali, Rwanda. Credit: K-TV Rwanda

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