By Viscount Francis K’Owuor,
September 19th 2017
According to experts Rwandans currently have a higher life expectancy than their counterparts from other East African countries. While the life expectancy of Kenya is at 63, in Rwanda it stands at 65, three points ahead of Tanzania and Uganda that are both at 62. This is attributable to healthier lifestyles by the people of Rwanda and a public policy agenda of President Paul Kagame.
In a futuristic health road map for Africa launched in Nairobi on 14th of September, experts said the continent only has a narrower opportunity to achieve longer and healthier lives like the rest of the world. “Most models for health care delivery is a sure recipe for failure,” said Dr Alex Ezeh, the Executive Director of the Nairobi-based African Population and Health Research Centre.
It must be noted that Rwanda has had an exemplary environmental management systems, which has seen her capital city Kigali being one of the cleanest cities in Africa. Additionally, public orders arising from best practices in planning and disciplined citizens have all worked together to make Rwanda a safer place to live in. In the area of public health the experts discovered that two thirds of Rwandans are likely to use an improved toilet, wash hands and live in a cleaner environment compared to only a third of Kenyans.
What makes this commendable is the fact that Rwanda is a small country with few natural resources and just came from a troubled past few years ago. While the small country is experiencing stable economic and social development, its neighbors like Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo are wallowing in the miasma of social and economic instability.
Despite misgivings about his governance policies that continue to stifle free expression and dissent, President Kagame has done well in pursuing a socioeconomic reforms agenda for Rwanda. Economists project a stable future for the tiny East African Country. Accordingly, the Rwandan experience has elicited debate on the place of benevolent dictatorship in African politics. Political scientists are asking; is Western style democracy the panacea to African problems, or as the late Julius Nyerere once noted, does the uniqueness of African sociopolitical background qualify the continent to practice a different variety of democracy that recognizes traditional African norms and values?
Going forward Rwanda will be a country to watch especially as is informed by a comparative development analysis involving other African countries like Kenya that are facing threats arising from institutional failure, grand corruption and negative ethnicity.