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Given the genocidal slaughter that Rwanda endured in 1994, it's really quite amazing to see the steps it has taken nearly two decades after. I think that one of the nation's fundamental challenges is seeing this progress continue and filter down to all levels of society. Like many emerging nations into the globalized dynamic, "progress" has to be something that is experienced by as many people as possible. One of Rwanda's challenges is to ensure that it is able to bring all members of its society along with its march towards progress. Consider some of the elements of change that Rwanda has already experienced:
10 years from now, Rwanda intends to be on par with Brazil, Thailand, and other nations that have pulled themselves out of poverty in recent decades... Five years ago, there were no supermarkets or ATMs, and the cheapest cell phones cost $50. Today there are multiple supermarkets, over a dozen international ATMs, and cell phones that cost $14 are plentiful.
The fundamental challenge is to ensure that such change can be felt by all levels of society. Some estimates suggest that as much as "40% of the population lives in poverty." This is going to be the test for Rwanda in that progress for some must translate into progress for all. Growth has been evident in the last five years. The challenge is going to spread this so that all members of Rwandan society are included and not marginalized in the nation's march towards progress and flight away from its past. Rwanda makes itself more susceptible to falling back into the horrific condition of the mid 1990s if it does not make its promises and possibilities enjoyed by all of its citizens. With a government that is low on corruption, such reality can happen, but it is going to be a fundamental challenge to ensure that the Rwanda in 2012 is one in which it speaks to all citizens.
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