Friend or foe of Rwanda?

Andrew Mitchell just loves Rwanda. The UK International Development Secretary has completed yet another visit, which he described as a working holiday.

He’s passionate about Project Umubano, a field programme where Conservative party wannabes are dispatched for a taste of Africa. And he’s increased aid to Rwanda by 50%, persuading the country to pilot David Cameron’s big idea of cash-for-results.

Of course, there’s no shortage of world politicians who feel rather differently about the repressive reputation of the Paul Kagame government, especially from our neighbours in Paris.

I wish that more stories of village experience would get out into our media, as they do from elsewhere in East Africa. How are ordinary farmers reacting to the remorseless drive towards intensive “modern” agriculture? Do they have any choice?

Yet I’ve heard anecdotal reports that Rwanda is fantastic for a cycling holiday, full of lush scenery and welcoming people. I ought to try it but am too easily put off by the country’s other name – “the land of a thousand hills.”


this post was first published by OneWorld UK