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#KnowYourAfrica: Rwanda

The small landlocked east-central African country will be hosting the 27th AU Summit that will be running from the 10th-18th of July. In the build-up to that continental event, we shall be looking at some of the interesting things about the country. The World Bank has praised Rwanda’s recent “remarkable development successes”, which it says have helped reduce poverty and inequality. Rwanda is also the best performing country in East and Central Africa and third easiest place to do business in Africa.

  1. Rwanda, land of a thousand hills

The “land of a thousand hills,” a direct translation from the French “Pays des Mille Collines,” is an apt description for the verdant country of Rwanda. From the volcanoes, to the jungles housing a third of the world’s remaining gorillas, to the largest rain forest in Africa, Rwanda has a history of environmental conservation. A detailed article accompanied with beautiful pictures explaining why the country has been for many years described as a land of a thousand hills.

  1. Kigali, cleanest city in Africa.

There is compulsory community service once a month for all Rwandans, where people clean up their communities. This monthly day of service called umaganda, meaning “contribution” in Kinyarwanda brings people together to contribute to public projects like school renovations, street cleaning, public-home building, and other feats of community participation and creation. Citizens that don’t show up for umaganda can expect a fine.


  1. Free public Wi-Fi in Kigali

In October 2013, the Rwandan government announced it had started to cover the lush green, rolling hills of the capital with wireless hotspots. This was the first step of a plan to provide WiFi coverage to all schools and public buildings, markets, bus stations and hotels in the city and, in the long-term, to the entire country.

  1. National language; from French to English overnight!

Overnight, the Rwandese government declared English the country’s official language in schools. With the stroke of pen, the entire education system changed, just like that. Officially the move was intended to strengthen Rwanda’s ties to its English-speaking east African neighbours, including Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania, with which it does much of its trade. The UK is now the single largest donor to Rwanda, providing nearly half of its foreign aid, while Kigali has applied to join the Commonwealth though the country was never a British colony.

  1. Ban of plastics bags

Rwanda banned plastic bags in 2006 and as a result, there’s barely any litter on the streets. They are the first country in the world to ban the plastic bags. The countryside and cities are remarkably and refreshingly trash- and plastic bag-free. What can the rest of the world learn from this nationwide ban on plastic?
















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