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Rwanda: The Future Singapore of Africa?

Text by Hélène FRADE , Lucas MENGET

Latest update : 2010-08-09

As Rwandans prepare to vote in the August 9 presidential elections, FRANCE 24’s Lucas Menget is in Kigali reporting on the polls, which will likely see incumbent leader Paul Kagame win a fresh seven-year term.

Paul Kagame has a dream: to make Rwanda the Singapore of Africa by 2020.

To achieve this, he aims to bring a hi-tech revolution to the countryside of this predominantly rural nation, and provide each child with a laptop. The IT train is coming.

Rwanda looks optimistically to the future. But the wounds of the fastest, most effective genocide in history - when an estimated 800,000 people were killed with machetes and knives in just six weeks in 1994 - are still raw.

In the run-up to the August 9 presidential elections, the president is largely assured of victory, as the opposition is dispersed, disorganised, and threatened.

"Those who want war will get war," Kagame threatened at one of his recent rallies. It’s a direct message aimed at opponents who denounce his dictatorial style such as Colonel Patrick Karegeya, the former Rwandan intelligence chief now in exile in South Africa.

Another opponent who has sought refuge in South Africa is General Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa, a former chief of staff and victim of an assassination attempt on June 19 outside his Johannesburg home. 

The Kagame camp accuses the opposition of fomenting a new war. None of the three other presidential candidates pose much of a threat to Kagame’s re-election, and the media, like the opposition, has been muzzled.

Date created : 2010-08-06

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