Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE INTERVIEW

Rwandan president claims 'no problem with France'

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Paul Kagame visits UNESCO HQ in Paris

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Flamboyant US Congressman's Instagram Lands Him in Bother

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Compromise buys Greece time and Jihadi John is unmasked (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Compromise buys Greece time and Jihadi John is unmasked (part 1)

Read more

#TECH 24

Drone vs. drone

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

The future of agriculture

Read more

REVISITED

Yalta, the symbol of a new Cold War?

Read more

#THE 51%

Women in the workforce: IMF says closing the gender gap makes economic sense

Read more

A show about human spirit and achievement in the face of adversity. We return to places which have been in the news - often a long time ago, sometimes recently - to see how local people are rebuilding their lives. Every other Sunday at 8.40 pm.

REVISITED

REVISITED

Latest update : 2014-04-04

Kigali: A city on the fast-track

Twenty years after the genocide, Rwanda’s capital city is a monument to modernity. Whole districts of Kigali have been renovated - though sometimes at the expense of the poorest. The memory of the genocide can never be erased, but Rwandans are moving on. Our reporters visited this booming city.

Arriving at Kigali international airport you quickly get the impression that Rwanda is a rather atypical country.

You’re told by airline staff that you must leave behind or conceal all plastic bags, because the Rwandan government has outlawed them. It’s a bid to be environmentally friendly is just one example of the policies adopted by Paul Kagame’s government which are aimed at changing Rwanda, making it cleaner, safer and more efficient.

On the roads of the capital more of these rules become apparent: motorbike riders must wear helmets, cyclists must have reflective jackets, and drivers must strap in their seatbelts at all times. If not, they receive a hefty fine from one of the many police officers posted on Kigali’s streets.

Kigali in 2014 is vastly different from the scenes of devastation and carnage that most people have fixed in their minds due to the Rwandan genocide.

In the centre, new skyscrapers and office blocks have been built, many roads have been widened and paved with tarmac, and public spaces are meticulously maintained by gardeners. A lot of emphasis has been on boosting business here; the government aims to make Kigali the go-to city for regional conferences and a high tech hub. The last time I was in Rwanda in 2010, authorities had installed a costly fibre optic cable system to boost the digital economy. Now, they’re on the brink of turning on a 4G cell phone network.

There’s no denying this modernisation is impressive. But if you dig a little, you find people who feel left behind by this relentless march forwards. Nervous about speaking out and being seen to critcise the government, they will tell you off camera that not everyone is benefiting from this development. Take the residents of Batsinda on the outskirts of the capital, for example. Hundreds of families were moved to this zone 15km from the city centre when the government decided to bulldoze their homes in the name of cleaning out Kigali’s slums. Their old neighbourhood, nicknamed ‘poor Kiyovu’, has been earmarked for private commercial development. And meanwhile some of the poor people shunted to Batsinda say they had no financial choice other than to take the (partially) government funded new home. Outside the capital Kigali, you only have to drive for 15 minutes to see very poor villages still with no electricity and unpaved dirt roads.

But mentalities are changing in Rwanda.

Many people, especially among the 60 percent of the population aged 25 or under, who are hungry to move past the genocide of 1994. People still talk about the killings with tears in their eyes and tell of terrible suffering and loss. No one wants to forget. But there does seem to be a desire now to move on, and construct a more positive, united future.

By Willy BRACCIANO , Catherine NORRIS TRENT

COMMENT(S)

Archives

2015-02-26 Crimea

Yalta, the symbol of a new Cold War?

Seventy years ago, in February 1945, the Yalta Conference was held in Crimea, on the shores of the Black Sea. A few months before the end of World War II, Roosevelt, Churchill...

Read more

2015-02-19 Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka: Tamil ex-stronghold Jaffna on the road to recovery

Jaffna is the former stronghold of the Tamil Tigers, the infamous Sri Lankan guerrilla group. This legendary peninsula at the northern tip of Sri Lanka was ravaged by three...

Read more

2015-01-23 AZF trial

Questions still haunt victims of Toulouse chemical plant blast

September 21, 2001. Hanger 221 of the AZF factory in Toulouse is suddenly obliterated. 500 tons of fertilizer explode and a shockwave sweeps away everything in its path, reaching...

Read more

2013-06-04 Chechnya

Chechnya: Grozny Revisited

In early 2000, Chechnya's capital Grozny was left in ruins after Moscow’s two brutal wars against Chechen separatists. Today, local strongman Ramzan Kadyrov and a tide of Russian...

Read more

2014-11-21 Lebanon

Is Beirut still haunted by ghosts of the civil war?

When Lebanon's civil war ended in 1990, it wasn't clear to many Lebanese how or why. Warlords swapped their fatigues for the suits of political office, then issued an amnesty...

Read more