Monday, May 24, 2010


One of the real political gaffes so far this year was when Peter Hain compared Wales' economy to that of Rwanda, stating that Wales was a wealthy country in comparison to the African nation, one of the poorest countries on the continent.

As he said back in February,

"Do you not agree, that compared with Rwanda and most countries in the rest of the world - most countries in the rest of the world is the point I was making if you'd not chosen to take that quote out of context - that Wales is indeed still a wealthy country?"

That is why I read a recent article from Harvard Business Review with a slightly ironic smile on my face.

Written by Daniel Isenberg, a Professor at Babson College in Massachusetts (the leading entrepreneurship college in the World), it makes an interesting observation about how the Rwandan economy has developed rapidly in recent times:

“In the latest Ease of Doing Business ranking from the World Bank, one country made a spectacular leap—from 143rd on the list to 67th. It was Rwanda, whose population and institutions had been decimated by genocide in the 1990s.

On the World Bank list, Rwanda catapulted out of the neighborhood of Haiti, Liberia, and the West Bank and Gaza, and sailed past Italy, the Czech Republic, Turkey, and Poland. On one subindex in the study, the ease of opening a new business, Rwanda ranked 11th worldwide.

“You can see and even smell the signs of Rwanda’s business revolution at Costco, one of the retail world’s most demanding trade customers, where pungent coffee grown by the nation’s small farmer-entrepreneurs is stocked on the shelves. And in Rwanda itself the evidence is dramatic—per capita GDP has almost quadrupled since 1995".