Defying all the odds and recovering from its difficult and painful past, Rwanda has truly risen from the ashes, becoming the poster child for progress in Africa. In just over two decades, it’s been transformed into a hub of growth and positive peacebuilding processes, and the proud bearer of a strategic Vision 2020 plan that’s already seeing this tiny country reach substantial developmental goals.
Economic growth is up 8% per annum and tourism revenue doubled from $200 million to $400 million between 2010 and 2016. An estimated 1.1 million travelers visited the country in 2018 and this number is set to grow to over 1.7 million by 2028, which is not surprising, given the incredible natural beauty of this little landlocked piece of paradise.
What’s more, huge advances have been made in healthcare; literacy rates are up; and reconstruction, reconciliation and nation-building efforts are plentiful. It’s not just lip service either, but a genuine mindset that pervades the fabric of daily life in Rwanda.
Surrounded by peaceful gardens and set in a quiet location in the hills of Kigali’s Gisozi neighbourhood, the Kigali Genocide Memorial is an important reminder of the past; an attempt to make sense of what happened, and to forge a conflict-free future for all. It’s impossible not to be touched by the stories told here – including the ones of acts of kindness.
The word “ubumuntu” – used prominently on a sign at the memorial – refers to a broader theme that encapsulates the spirit of goodwill that ultimately healed this once troubled nation. It’s essentially the humanity of Rwandans who selflessly risked their lives to rescue or help those who were persecuted, and a call to action for people to take a stand against social division, wherever they may live.
This mindset, heartfelt kindness and raw authenticity is palpable throughout the country. It’s not a place where bold, brash moves abound. In Rwanda, life today seems to be more about a subtle, gentle and measured approach – to the land, and to others.
One of the most inspiring aspects of Rwanda’s journey is how this nation has not defined itself by its past. Instead, Rwandans are writing a new narrative for their future. A narrative that celebrates the good that unites them, the energy that propels them forward, and the future dreams they all share.
It is within this context that Singita is honoured to open Singita Volcanoes National Park in the northwest of the country in August this year, and to substantially contribute to conservation, community development and tourism in the region.
In partnership with the Rwandan Development Board, programmes here encompass everything from community partnerships to reforestation, and are all in step with Singita’s 100-year vision to preserve and protect large areas of African wilderness for future generations. Singita Kwitonda Lodge and the exclusive-use Singita Kataza House will provide a boost for the local economy and job creation, and their construction involves the expertise of several local artisans.
The positive force of Rwanda’s rebirth has been sweeping through the entire country, and it is energising and enabling various sectors of the economy – from agriculture to tourism. Bolstered by a consistently improving infrastructure, positive mindset and remarkable safety levels, the country is finally stepping into the spotlight.
Bookings for Singita Kwitonda Lodge and Kataza House are open. Get in touch to book a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.