How Rwanda is Becoming the Singapore of Africa
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This video was made possible by Curiosity
Stream. Watch over 2,000 documentaries for free for
30 days by signing up at the link in the description. Africa is often viewed quite poorly on the
world stage. The continent holds plenty of violent, corrupt,
and unstable nations and the majority of world’s least developed countries, but Africa is big. There are 54 countries there and not all fall
into the generalizations of the continent as a whole. Perhaps most notably, Rwanda. One of the easiest ways to compare countries
is through their indicators and Rwanda’s are impressive. For every 100,000 residents, Rwanda has, on
average, only 2.5 murders per year. As a point of comparison, that’s lower than
India’s 3.2 or the United States’ 5.4. It’s even more impressive when looking at
the kind of neighborhood Rwanda is in. Uganda has 11.5, Tanzania has 7, Burundi has
6, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo has 13.6 murders per 100,000. In addition, Rwanda is ranked as the 48th
least corrupt country in the world. That’s not perfect, but on the continent,
only Botswana, a far richer country, ranks higher. The country also has a 67 year life expectancy,
tied for forth best in Africa, and only slightly below the world average. That 67 year number is believable, but what’s
truly unbelievable is that 25 years ago, the average Rwandan had a life expectancy of 28
years. 25 years ago, Rwanda was in the midst of one
of the most horrific genocides in history. In only 100 days, 800,000 Rwandans were murdered
in the midst of this ethnic conflict. The group primarily targeted, the Tutsi, saw
the loss of about 75% of its population. With time, though, the country emerged from
the other end, peace prevailed, and its indicators began their steady climb upwards to where
they are today. It is now the 15th fastest growing economy
in the world as its government has set out a clearly defined mission—they want to become
the Singapore of Africa. To understand what this means, though, you
have to understand what Singapore is. It’s easy to forget that east Asia was not
the highly developed, economically powerful place it is today 100 years ago. Many refer to the 1800’s as Britain’s
century, the 1900’s as America’s century, and the 2000’s as Asia’s century. It’s thought that we are currently in the
century where Asia will prevail and one of the countries driving that is Singapore. Singapore sits at the top of all the indicators—not
just for Asia, but the world. It’s the eighth safest, third richest, third
least corrupt, third longest living country in the world. 60 years ago, in 1960’s, Singapore’s economy
had a size of about $700 million. Today that number is $320 billion. In the last ten years alone its GDP has doubled. It went from a definitively third-world country
to a definitively first-world country in less than a lifetime. The country is intensely focused on being
the business hub for Asia. Of the world’s 20 largest companies, 15
have operations in Singapore. It’s tough to look at the results of Singapore’s
economic development without being impressed. They have done the nearly impossible. Some of the ways Singapore has achieved this
growth, though, has met some criticism. The way Singapore is run politically has been
described as, “paternalistic.” It’s not quite authoritarian, but some freedoms
are lacking. One of the few indicators that Singapore does
rank at the top of is the Democracy Index. It scores a 6.4 out of 10 which ranks it at
66th in the world and categorizes it as a, “flawed democracy.” The elements of this paternalism range from
small things like the country’s ban on chewing gum for cleanliness purposes to big things
like the limitations on freedom of speech, assembly, and the press. To this, proponents would say, “look at
the results.” The country has succeeded economically based
off the trade that seemingly more and more countries are embracing, “liberty for prosperity.” Rwanda has been paying attention. Paul Kagame, its president, declared that
mission to turn the country into, “the Singapore of Africa,” and in many ways, it’s already
well on its way. Arguing that Rwanda is authoritarian is easy. On the same democracy indicator where Singapore
is categorized as a, “flawed democracy,” Rwanda earns a score of 3.4 out of 10 and
the categorization of, “authoritarian.” Paul Kagame was first elected in 2003, then
again in 2010, then again in 2017 with 98.8% of the vote. The US Department of State, though, described
that third election as having some, “irregularities.” That also came after a constitutional amendment
lifting term limits to let Kagame take power again. He is clearly well-liked and impressive. He began his career in the military, played
a part in toppling the oppressive governments of Uganda, Rwanda, and the DRC, and has been
described as, “perhaps the most successful general alive.” He is by all accounts a military genius and
since his fighting days he has risen Rwanda from chaos into peace and prosperity but as
a political leader, he himself is still oppressive. Just like Singapore, there are severe limitations
on the freedom of speech, assembly, and the press. There are even accusations of Kagame supporting
or arranging the assassination of his political opponents. Looking at the ends, though, there are clearly
more parallels with Singapore. Singapore’s success as a business hub is
can be attributed to three factors: geographic centrality, political stability, and ease
of doing business. As part of Kagame’s mission, Rwanda is working
to improve these same three factors. For the first factor, Singapore’s sits as
a central point in the world. Within an eight hour flight one can get to
the major business hubs of the middle east in the UAE and Qatar, all of India, all of
east Asia’s major business hubs, and all of Australia. Meanwhile, Rwanda sits only 600 miles or 950
kilometers from the geographic center of Africa. It is about as central as you can get on the
enormous continent. For both countries, though, geographic centrality
means nothing unless you can actually get to them. One of Singapore’s largest companies is
Singapore airlines—often considered one of the best if not the best airline in the
world. Thanks to this airline, one can get from Singapore
to five different continents in a matter of hours. It’s easy to underestimate the importance
of having a globally competitive airline to establish a city as a business hub. It’s safe to say that other business hubs,
such as Dubai and Doha, would not be as influential as they are today without their airlines. Rwanda has clearly noticed this. Their national airline, Rwandair, which is
government owned, has grown from a tiny operation with a few regional jets to a significant,
intercontinental airline operating brand new planes. They now fly all around Africa, to Dubai,
Brussels, and London and have even announced plans to start one-stop service to both Guangzhou,
China and New York. While the airline is not yet nearly at the
level of some larger players on the continent like Ethiopian Airlines and South Africa Airways,
it’s serving its job effectively of connecting Rwanda to the world. The second factor to Singapore’s economic
success is political stability. The World Bank rates countries in terms of,
“political stability and absence of violence and terrorism,” and for this, Singapore,
unsurprisingly, comes up in the 99th percentile—better than almost any country in the world. This is a big reason why a CEO might choose
to set up their Asian hub in Singapore over Hong Kong, for example, which only scores
in the 75th percentile for political stability and is trending downwards. They want to operate in a place that they
know won’t change quickly on a political level since there are inherent costs involved
with a changing external environment. Rwanda sits at the 48th percentile for this
political stability indicator, well in the middle of the pack. This isn’t phenomenal but, compared to the
sub-Saharan average of 31, it’s doing alright. It’s a contentious issue whether elements
of authoritarianism promote or impede political stability. In Rwanda’s case, with so few years under
the current form of government, it’s tough to know if the country really is stable or
not. Rwanda is now, by many accounts, a police
state. There are random checkpoints all around the
country and strict security at most buildings in Kigali, the capital. Kigali is now one of the cleanest cities in
Africa, let alone the world, partially due to a ban on single-use plastics and plastic
bags but also because all able-bodied members of the population are required to participate
in a community cleaning day on the last Saturday of each month. According to one report, there’s even widespread
unlawful detention of what are described as, “undesirables,” on the streets. The test of whether this country is truly
stable or rather in a state of temporary fear-based obedience might not have yet come. Rwanda has not experienced a transition of
power since 2000 and nobody really knows whether the country can continue on the right path
after Kagame leaves. He himself even said that if he had not groomed
a successor by 2017, “It means that I have not created capacity for a post-me Rwanda. I see this as a personal failure.” It’s now well past 2017 and Kagame is still
in power with no signs of leaving. Regardless of the reasons, though, for Rwanda’s
current political stability, it’s sure that businesses like it. It’s one of the top factors they look at
when deciding which countries to operate in. The third factor that led to Singapore’s
business success, ease of doing business, is perhaps the most important one and it’s
also the one at which Rwanda most excels. This is a broad factor but it’s one that
the World Banks tracks with a well known indicator—the Ease of Doing Business Index. This looks at ten factors—ease of starting
a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property,
getting credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing
contracts, and resolving insolvency. Singapore ranks as number two in the world
behind New Zealand and is followed up by Denmark, Hong Kong, and South Korea. Rwanda, meanwhile, scores as the 29th. This is an impressive score by itself but
it is incredibly impressive when considering how the rest of the continent ranks up. Rwanda is by far the highest ranked among
mainland African nations. The nearest trailing African nation is Morocco
at number sixty and plenty of highly developed countries like the Netherlands, Switzerland,
and Japan rank lower than Rwanda. To achieve this Rwanda has made plenty of
economic and legislative reforms to foster the business-friendly environment. They’ve also been focusing on building both
soft and hard infrastructure. The government, in collaboration with private
investors, built an enormous $300 million convention center along with a five star Radisson
Blu hotel to attract the convention market in addition to less flashy infrastructure
projects building roads and airports. Overall, Rwanda is on the hunt for international
investment in the country and so far, that’s paid off. In 2005, $10.5 million were invested from
abroad in Rwanda. In 2017, that number was $293 million. Clearly a lot is working in Rwanda. It’s safe, clean, and growing economically. What more could a country want? Well, there are serious questions from abroad
on whether Rwanda’s growth is ethical, replicable, sustainable, and even real. The way Rwanda has achieved its current stability
and growth have some external observers condemning it. Appearances of Rwanda can also be deceiving. It is still one of the poorest countries in
the world with the average resident earning only $750 a year. Some question whether the country should be
spending so much on its airline, its infrastructure, and its capital when so many in the country
are so poor. Some question whether the country is growing
for its middle and upper class while leaving its rural poor behind. It’s no surprise, though, that many of the
countries neighbors, curbed by violence and poverty, have pondered whether they should
be replicating the ways of Kagame. External observers have given mixed answers
to that question. Some believe that the the current authoritarian
policies will let dissent bottle up and eventually explode. They worry that the country will erupt into
violence again. Some say that the current regime is solely
focused on making things seem like they’re improving through climbing up the indicators
without making real, rational change. There are even some accusations that Rwandan
GDP growth figures might be inflated or otherwise manipulated. It’s sure that Rwanda has been growing enormously,
but is it really this much? There is no one recipe for economic growth. The fact that the United States became the
superpower of the 20th century and China is becoming the superpower of the 21st century
proves that more than anything. Democratic states grow and autocratic states
grow—they might grow in different ways, but there are success stories on both ends
of the spectrum. What external observers have so much trouble
answering is the means to the end question. Should Rwanda’s growth be lauded given how
it is achieved? Can you tolerate some bad in exchange for
much good? In the end, Rwanda is the country of Rwandans
and they are the only ones that matter with these questions. If Rwanda is truly working for all Rwandan’s,
then Rwanda is working. There are a lot of, “ifs,” but if Rwanda’s
growth is sustainable and if Rwanda’s politics are stable and if Rwanda’s investments pay
off and if businesses pay attention to Rwanda, there is a very good chance that the country
is well on it’s way to becoming the Singapore of Africa. If you’re interesting in learning more about
Singapore, there’s a fascinating documentary on CuriosityStream about how the country is
dealing with the problem of having a huge, growing, and aging population in its tiny
borders. It’s a great watch and one of more than
2,000 documentaries that you can watch on CuriosityStream. With them, you can watch these docs on almost
every platform: Roku, Android, iOS, Chromecast, Apple TV, desktop, and plenty more. If you like Wendover Productions, you’re
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month but what’s best is that you can get started watching on CuriosityStream for free
for thirty days by signing up at CuriosityStream.com/Wendover and using the code, “Wendover,” at checkout.

100 thoughts on “How Rwanda is Becoming the Singapore of Africa

  1. I know that this topic, like most geopolitics topics, has more potential than most to be contentious so I think it's extra important for you to know where the information comes from. Nothing said in this video is new and you can find all the sources at this link: https://goo.gl/5KDmvB

    Normally the sources go the description but there were too many this time to fit. 

    One small note, at 11:14 it seems like some of the footage we used was mislabeled so these two clips are not actually of Rwanda. My apologies for that slip-up.

    As a policy, if there's anything more that I feel needs correcting or clarifying I'll update this top comment to include it.

  2. Why do you have footage of Malaysia in this video? I can clearly tell from the license plates of the cars in the image.

  3. well if rwanda has an authoritarian government than you can't say with truth that the president is well liked b the people and thats why hes remained in office for 17 years. if theres lacking of freedom of speech and accurate media, its more likely the country is in an era of temporary fearful obedience

  4. If this century is all about Asia growing fast, then I hope the next century or years will be all about Africa; to continue the trend.

  5. 1st, China is still growing slower than America. People like to say China has overtaken the US but the numbers don't support it. And after Trump puts China back in there box it will be obvious to all.

  6. Rwanda has learned the lesson some African countries are waking up to. Socialism is dumb, let's hope their neighbors figure this out. I'm looking at you Congo!!!

  7. Liked the video from the start, but immediately clicked away once I saw criticisms about Singapore's "Lack" of democracy.

    Democracy is not mandatory for a country to be great.

  8. South African Airways has been in debt for almost 10 years. If Rwanda Airlines is making profits then all they're missing is the status.

  9. No country in Africa is safe. Some seem that way at times. But wait until something serious happens, and gets out of control. And you all find that it's not safe at all.

  10. Kagame had done the best that no African could do before. He is un-corrupted and uncompromising. He built the most progressive African nation in mere 22 years from the ash of the genocide. This is the most freed nation compared to the rest of Africa.

  11. One big issue with heavy industry, is the lack of a sea-connected-harbor. You will struggle and mostly fail to start serious primary industries, such as large scale farming, mining, etc. if you do not have access to a sea faring port through which you can do large scale exports and imports. Ships can still carry a lot more goods in a single go, making them way more economical than air-planes if time is not all to critical and planning is done correctly, while Planes can only carry so much! I hope Rwanda does well, but it will ultimately be limited by it's geographical location.

  12. What a load of shite…..Singapore is NOT a democracy…..it is a fascist oligarchy…..BUT there is hardly an alternative…..its got all these different ethnic groups who would tear each other to bits.The country is owned by the Chinese…..
    Is Wendover run by the CIA?……any how it's about as boring as watching paint dry…..a BAD JOKE…..especially with the idiot faux American accented commentator……

  13. Rwanda is the Singapore of Africa only in the brains of those foreigners who plotted the genocide in the country and continue to use that poor country to steal the minerals from Zaire! In Rwanda, children are hungry; the famine has been raging from the day the imperialist countries ignited the war among different tribes to end up placing their man on power, the man who serves their interests in stealing the Zairean minerals for themselves!! Now they chant the economical miracle i Rwanda as an encouragement to their man to feel he is loved by his masters and involve himself strongly in more stealing for them the Congolese resources.

  14. About the poor, what are poor countries to do ? Just give their people handouts for the rest of their lives ? The US had a lot of poor prior to 1945 (It still has a lot but far less than it historically did) China had a massive poor population, both focused more on growing and developing their country rather than give the poor handouts and as a result poverty declined because poor people don't want handouts. They want jobs and a competitive economy.

  15. If there is any Rwandan reading this they should not at all try to overthrow this President because he has a vision to develop the country. Learn from our fellow African nation Libya they are now suffering the consequences after Muammar Qaddafi was killed and the citizens are in poverty again. And most importantly congratulations and well done, it motivates us as africans when our fellow country is developing.

  16. This is the second time I've watched this video because i cannot help but imagine corporatist imperialist screeching in the background. While the USA is busy destroying, invading, murdering, and destabilising, nations like Rwanda are thriving nonetheless. There's a damn good reason why most countries believe the USA to be the biggest threat to world peace.

  17. Thank u for your tolerance! There ia no better means towards peace and prosperity, and only people in the country are qualified for judging the means.

  18. Off course in Singapore there is no freedom for crime. You will be punished whip lashed including all government employees. Humans are just violent factors so you need to fix this behaviour by whip lashing. As a result all those who are stupid behave. But we still have Singaporean Chinese abusing foreign workers and don't pay them as well engineers earn $s 2-4k a month. A lot of fillipinos work in Singapore as maids and many of these women end up having sexual relations with the husband and they get pregnant and are kicked out of the country.

  19. Even though the country is poor, it shouldn't be something that should stop them to try and bring in investors. Before the great economic growth, Singapore was also very poor but because they tried to attract investors seriously through the investments they went through, they are now rich.

    Even though Rwanda is an autocratic country, it shouldn't mean it is bad for the world. I love democracy, since I'm French and my country is a democracy, but the real indicator of one successful political system is if people are happy in it. If Kigami manages to make Rwanda grow, people will be happy and would gladly accept him as a leader. Same for Singapore in which the governement main seat has been controled by the same family since it's creation.

  20. this sounds terrible but maybe the genocide was "good" thing for rwanda in a way, I mean it created alot of land to invest in and it created alot of empty spaces in the job market, causing wages to rise so that people could spend more, boosting the economy.

  21. Thanks goodness, keep going up Rwanda! It's true, peaceful and politically stable is what any investors need to invest in a foreign country. Don't let the west rob your own culture and democracy again. Western democracy is corrupt and violent that fits their way of life. Think big Rwanda, educate todays generation before the west influence them

  22. You can’t really compare countries with just statistics it’s always more complicated than numbers it’s the whole America and China comparison if you look at the numbers China is doing better than the USA but if you look at it from a less analytical perspective China is essentially a ticking time bomb

  23. If you have little violence, you have a stable country. This means that the country men and women have pride in themselves and the country. Desperation drives murder and crime. I'm in Japan right now and there is minimal crime and is very clean. The country people have pride and that is their success. Don't let the west define what is bad for a country. The USA while rich is a far cry from being ideal.

  24. Authoritarianism always ends up bad. It may take a while, but it'll always fail. What Hayek wrote in 1938 still holds true today. Maybe more than ever.

  25. Building infrastructure its a real good strategy in longo term thinking, and the authoritarian dimension in my opinion its parte of the trânsito of the country, its necessary, all First world countries experienced rigidy policies in the transition…

  26. I wish best of luck to the Rwandan brothers and sisters. Love from India. And I wish to see other African, Asian and Latin American countries also to get prosperous and eradicate poverty from the globe.

  27. I´m glad you made this video, but you fail in mentioned and detailing a lot of good reforms he´s implementing.
    -He reformed the educational system building schools and raising the obligation to study until 12.
    -Womens have equal opportunities, they representation on the goverment is 56%.
    -Didn´t mentioned the he had programs to help the poor by giving a cow or animals( providing and efective solutions to local problems).
    – In the political side he reintroduced the old pratice of imindigo(i hope not spelling wrong), that is a tribal system, it´s like the mayors in the USA.

    The list goes on….

  28. Singapore's so successful because they can focus on one place, and that's Singapore. Development, especially from a centralized government, wouldn't be effective unless there's sacrifice, in Rwanda's case, they're developing the Capital at the expense of the surrounding rural area. I think it's necessary to do so, because the most successful model of development are the one that focused on one thing in expense of the others, and hope that a trickle effect happened, where the surrounding area slowly getting developed themself, instead of trying to do everything at once, causing small development that's widespread but insignificant.

  29. The problem in being a prosperous country is the country has to cope with lots of illegals who in turn may cause more harm than good.

  30. You're right that is an unusually low murder rate for a country that went through mass genocide only a few decades ago. It's almost like it is so lawless that they stopped reporting the murders.

  31. In the midst of the video I was waiting for criticism for rawanda as west press always do…but later on realized that this channel isn't mainstream press🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

  32. Да как-то не особо быстро Руанда растёт бл*ть, в разы меньше, чем Смнгапур

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