Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

EYE ON AFRICA

Ethiopia violence: 1200 detained after Addis Ababa clashes

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Macron's former bodyguard's gun selfie

Read more

THE DEBATE

Which world order? Trump, Macron spell out rival visions at U.N.

Read more

ENCORE!

Debra Granik: 'There aren't many women who love making films about blood and gore'

Read more

IN THE PRESS

Medical breakthrough? Researchers find way to tackle Alzheimer's

Read more

FOCUS

Jihadists, but no terror attacks: The case of Italy

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

A controversial pastor in Haiti, pollution in Casablanca, and more

Read more

PERSPECTIVE

Photojournalist Reza: 'Children are now the best photographers'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Instagram founders quit photo app

Read more

REVISITED

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. Sunday at 9.10 pm. Or you can catch it online from Friday.

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 Catherine NORRIS-TRENT , Willy BRACCIANO

COMMENT(S)

Archives

2018-09-21 REVISITED

Video: Hero or dictator? Ugandans divided over Idi Amin Dada’s legacy

Forty years after Idi Amin Dada’s bloody regime came to an end, Ugandans are divided over how to view their former leader. For older Ugandans, the president’s eight years at the...

Read more

2018-09-07 REVISITED

Video: One year after Hurricane Irma, St Martin struggles to recover

On September 5, 2017, Hurricane Irma – the most powerful the Caribbean has ever seen – hit Saint-Martin, the small island France shares with the Netherlands. At least 11 people...

Read more

2018-08-24 REVISITED

Is Iceland's economic miracle a social model for Europe?

Our reporters returned to Iceland, some 10 years after the tiny island nation plunged into a deep crisis after the country’s banking system collapsed like a house of cards....

Read more

2018-06-22 REVISITED

Video: Shenzhen, from fishing port to China’s Silicon Valley

As French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe begins a four-day visit to China in the south-eastern city of Shenzhen, our team reports from this former fishing village that’s been...

Read more

2018-06-08 REVISITED

Video: What remains of multicultural France that won 1998 World Cup?

Most French people remember where they were on the night of July 12, 1998. That’s when France was crowned the winner of the football World Cup, after beating Brazil 3-0. After...

Read more