According to the World Bank Group’s 2015 Doing Business Report, Rwanda is the best performing country in East and Central Africa and third easiest place to do business in Africa.
Here are the 10 interesting facts about the ‘land of a thousand hills, number 9 might surprise or even shock you.
1. You can start a business in 48 hours in Rwanda. It takes 11.1 days on average in OECD high income countries.
2. Rwanda is leading Africa’s digital revolution. The Smart Kigali initiative will create access to free wireless internet on public buses, in hospitals, taxi parks, commercial buildings and restaurants, while a partnership with Korea Telecom is creating access to 4G for 95% of the population.
3. Between 2001 and 2012, real GDP growth in Rwanda averaged 8.1% per annum. According to the Fitch rating agency, Rwanda is experiencing ‘rapid and inclusive economic growth driven by credible economic policy’.
4. Rwanda has the world’s highest representation of women in parliament. 64% of Rwanda’s members of parliament are women.
5. A dramatic improvement in healthcare delivery and health outcomes has seen life expectancy in Rwanda rise by 10 years in the last decade. Over 90% of Rwandans have access to medical insurance.
6. Rwanda is one of the few African countries on track to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Net primary school attendance is at over 91%.
7. One million Rwandans overcame poverty between 2006 and 2011. Innovative homegrown development solutions have reduced poverty. For example, the Girinka programme, which provides every poor family in Rwanda with a cow, has reduced malnutrition, increased agricultural productivity and created small business opportunities.
8. In 2007, Rwanda became the first country in the world to legislate an outright ban on plastic bags. It is estimated that the EU produces 3.4m tonnes of plastic bags in a year, creating carbon emissions and dangerous waste.
9. On the last Saturday of every month, every Rwandan, starting with the President, participates in Umuganda, a day of national community service. Through Umuganda, Rwandans have built schools, medical centres, hydroelectric plants, and rehabilitated wetlands to create highly productive agricultural plots, and cleaned their cities, towns and villages – making Kigali one of the cleanest cities in Africa.
10. According to the Ibrahim index of African Governance, Rwanda is one of the only two countries to show consistent overall governance improvements since 2000. It is ranked number one in Africa for Gender, and is one of the top five most improved countries since 2000.