June 7

Forgiveness Rebuilding Rwanda Economy 25 Years After Genocide


In 2010 Jason Benedict traveled to Africa to establish a business incubator in Rwanda. As he stood in what was the equivalent of their small business development center, a video of Vision 2020 played on a TV.

Despite the scoffing of a couple of local men waiting in line, the excitement and belief for a better future for Rwanda was evident in the country.

Benedict's project was part of Regent University's Center for Entrepreneurship. More than 200 entrepreneurs have gone through the 14 week Rwanda Small Business Development Center school that was established by the Regent team.

Rwanda was devastated by the 1994 Tutsi Genocide. The country was severely affected in all areas of society. One indication of this was the negative economic growth of -11.94% that year.

Since that time Rwanda has seen a major economic revival. Vision 2020 was launched in 2000 with the primary goal of becoming a middle-income country within 20 years. This initiative has resulted in a steady 7% average growth in the economy each year. In 2017, the country was ranked as the third least corrupt government in Africa. It is also ranked as the 29th easiest country in the world to do business in.

The question that remains ... how did this happen? Starting from such a disadvantaged position how did Rwanda become one of the fastest growing economies in the world?

Studio 5 of CBN News produced a special broadcast commemorating the 25th anniversary of the genocide. The following is an excerpt detailing the part that faith played in healing the people of Rwanda:

Father John Bosco Twahirwa applauds the government's move to partner with faith organizations to help the country heal.
"We took the word of God to prisons, communities, to areas where victims and survivors were. We took the word of God everywhere to make a difference."
Forgiveness isn't easy. He understands the struggle.
"The person who killed my grandmother is one who currently works on our farm. We forgave him and we share. It was difficult at first but slowly by slowly people started seeing that forgiveness and asking for forgiveness is what would help us rebuild our nation.

In order for Rwandans to recover from the 1994 tragedy they had to learn to not only coexist but to thrive in unity. Forgiveness was at the very heart of the matter.

Speaking of heart, that is a primary tenet of Regent's Rwandan business school. Serge Kamari is a graduate of the program and reflected on this lesson learned:

"It changed what I knew about business. And one particular thing I remember is they taught us not to do business from our head, but from our heart," Kamari said, recalling his time as a BDC student. "And that is who I am as a person."

Benedicts says that the center exists to transform people and nations through business.

"The government here in Rwanda threw the door open for us and said 'we want to be the first'. And so they actually helped make that happen," said Benedict.

Vision 2020 is less than a year away for Rwanda. Without vision people perish, but with one they flourish. That's exactly what is happening in East Africa. Vision of forgiveness has led to great provision in a formerly war-torn region. Imagine what can happen in the next 20 years.


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