Rwanda: The Kagame Model for Africa

By Max Coutinho

According to the World Bank, Rwanda ranks third as the easiest place to do business in Africa; it has been recognised by the UN as "having and developing the most promising dream capital city on the African continent"; it has been acknowledged as having the most efficient African government by the WEF, and it met most of the Millennium Development Goals for 2015 (source). Such good news should make the world smile but instead the West criticises President Paul Kagame, a man who is creating – what I coined as – the Kagame Model for Africa.

The world stood still before the genocide that took place in Rwanda. Where was CNN, the BBC and others back then? Nowhere. Where was America, France, the United Kingdom and the European Union? They were watching the events unfolding in silence. Where was the UN and its humanitarian agencies? They were focused on the eternal Palestinian refugees. But now, all of these actors believe to have the right to meddle in Rwandan affairs and press the country into following western paradigms.

Liberal Democracy is not a recipe for Africa

The People of Rwanda participated in a referendum, late last year, to alter the constitution in order to allow Paul Kagame to run for a third term. 98% of the electorate cast their vote (a turn out envied by western politicians) and the majority voted to allow their President to continue developing their country.

When the time comes to transfer responsibility from one public servant to another, Rwandans already have confidence that it will be done in the orderly and harmonious manner which we expect and indeed require. - Paul Kagame

The Rwandan people were not the only ones to sanction a third term for their leadership: Congo Brazzaville did the same, and the Ugandans may end up doing the same soon. This is a very important development as Africa may prove that either liberal democracy is dying or that liberal democracy is a western value that isn't universal. Such evidence is an assault to the egos of stale scholars and even staler bureaucrats who induce politicians to do the wrong thing.

The inflexible proponents of liberal democracy are those who support corruption (mainly corrosive), as in liberal democracies certain groups, and their networks, control the system and feed themselves off of it - often in detriment of the people's welfare. Whereas in efficient illiberal democracies, and parliamentary monarchies, the system's net is tighter making it, thus, harder for corrosive corruption to proliferate and to scandalously jeopardise the people's welfare .

Rwanda is a success story: it is efficient, it delivers. Rwanda provides human development for its people. Rwanda puts its citizens first and it achieved something (without resorting to the usual feminist rhetoric) that Western countries can only dream of: 64% of its parliament is composed by women. This level of success is problematic to the West because not only it defies the notion that its model is the only option to develop a country, a society, but it also shows that it hasn't helped westerners to achieve many of their own goals, particularly when it comes to women in politics.

The Kagame Model

  • Open market: low tariffs, flexible fiscal policy, freedom to invest, freedom to take capital in and out of the country, and a free competition policy – read Here how the open telecommunications market in Rwanda marked 2015 with innovation.
  • Growth acceleration, poverty reduction and reduced inequality through rural development, productivity and youth employment.
  • Emergence of a viable private sector to take over as the principle growth engine of the economy.
  • Improvement of productivity and incomes of the poor through not only rural development but also through social protection policies.
  • Focus on reaching the following goals by 2018: raise GDP per capita to $1,000, have less than 30% of the population below the poverty line, and have less than 9% of the population living in extreme poverty.
  • A High Quality Education System (read Here
  • Government accountability through public-financial management and decentralization. 

The paradigm is working for Rwanda; so much so that Tanzanians look at Paul Kagame as the example of a proper African Leader, and in 2015 they elected President John Magufuli who is being accused of carrying out the Rwandanisation of Tanzania just because he wants to make the State more efficient and less corrupt (in order to channel funds to the Human Development of his people).

The Kagame Model seems simple but it can only work via a paradox: it requires a lot of political selflessness on one hand (i.e. putting the people first in order to gain their trust), and a lot of political control on the other (i.e. controlling the environment with a strong hand). And of course, in order to be efficient, the People of other African nations must trust their leaders in order to grant them the mandate they need to clean house.

Rwandans want good politics that keeps delivering, they also expect a democracy in which public office is routinely transferred from one individual of their choice to another, yet real power and decision-making always remain firmly in the hands of the people themselves - idem

If people really want the development of Africa and its people, they must drop their ideological myopia and support the Kagame Model. So I ask again: what's more expedient; to have a stable illiberal democratic nation, or even a military dictatorship, where human development is high; or to have a liberal democracy where corruption is widespread and human development is immorally low?

[The views expressed in this publication are solely those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Dissecting Society]


  1. It's time for the west to butt out of others countries' politics. You're right, this model may refute a lot of theories about liberal democracy and about what people want. Well done.

    1. Hi Anonymous :D!

      I agree. Right? The world is changing indeed, my friend.
      Why, thank you *bowing*; and cheers for your comment :D.

  2. This sounds a bit like Singapore's model, which is another success story that is hated by the Western elite.

    1. Hi Looney :D!

      I'm sure Singapore isn't interested about the western elite's feelings either. That so-called elite only works to serve their interests and we're growing tired of them, for their way didn't make this a better, they failed.

      Looney, thank you so much for your comment :D.


  3. Paul Kagame is turning into a regional leader. Tanzania is helping to spread his popularity even more and I just hope that other countries won't try to 'tackle' Mr Kagame. In addition to this, I'd say that western criticism is being fuelled by Rwandan opposition elements - similar to what is happening in Israel where Jewish leftists are being exposed as the main force behind the world criticism, and attempts of boycott, against the Jewish State. Those Rwandan elements would not do half of Paul Kagame's job and we have to verify their possible links to the FDLR.

    1. Hi Cristina :D!

      Yes, he is. I think Mr Kagame is well protected (I remember there was a plot, involving either South Africa elements or Rwandan opposition elements in South Africa and a rapper in Rwanda, to kill the president; but failed, of course).
      Good comparison, yes. Links to the FDLR? Perhaps Morgan can help us with that...

      Cristina, thank you so much for your comment :D.


  4. I always liked Paul Kagame. As a man he's not afraid of empowering women and he understand their vital role in the advancement of any society, without having that stupid feminazi talk! Tanzania is right to be excited about Kagame and their new president, who I hear is also cleaning house, cause those two really care about the people, who must always come first! and now that I let my inner-socialist express itself Hahahahahaha, I want to add that Africa will revolutionise the political world in a decade: Nigerians elected an authoritarian as president, Rwandans and Congolese want their leaders to stay in power, Uganda is next; but would it work in South Africa or Mozambique? No, cause they don't give a shit about the people.

    1. Hi Raquel :D!

      It wouldn't work, for now, in both South Africa and Mozambique because contrary to what people say those two countries are ruled by repressive governments/elites.
      The ANC is a criminal leftist party that holds black South Africans captive of obsolete rhetoric and in poverty: tell me, what have they done for black people exactly? Ok, they improved the image of their "ghettos" but what else, when stats say that white people and Asians still run the economy, are more educated and have better quality of life?
      FRELIMO enriches its cronies while the people live in utter misery. Yet stats place Mozambique as one of the fastest growing economies in the world: but who benefits? Not the people. Besides, this past weekend they burned villages in the north forcing hundreds of people to flee to Malawi as refugees; and why? Because FRELIMO is after RENAMO elements...I mean, again this story? And this only happens because Frelimists do not want to share power and wealth, and do not want human development of Mozambicans..unlike the RENAMO people.

      So, in order for the Kagame model to work, those two countries need serious leaders whom the people can trust.

      Raquel, thank you so much for your comment, girl :D.


  5. "According to the World Bank, Rwanda ranks third as the easiest place to do business in Africa"........ well...[ |

    1. Hi Warren :D!

      Thanks for those links, but let's get real: articles written by the opposition (supported by those who practised the genocide) can not be taken seriously, can they? Besides, if the Rwandan people support Mr Kagame, who are we to interfere or criticise?

      A while ago, there was a conversation between our editor in chief and Cheney where he said "one needs to be acutely aware that any major message fed into the Open System could well be fully manufactured for effect and even to mislead." and it is the case with many articles written against Mr Kagame.

      Warren, thank you so much for your comment :D. Sparking debate, eh?


  6. At least he takes care of his people! As an African I don't care if you stay in power forever or not as long as you take care of us: schools, hospitals, roads, sanitation, power, free market, freedom of expression, the basics. But to do like dos Santos does, to oppress his people while giving some sense of development is not right either. There needs to be a balance. In Africa, our tradition is to respect the elderly, the leader of the people, and we are willing to do that if he or she takes care of us. But if he or she doesn't then they need to go! If they stay it has to be our decision!

    1. Hi Leila :D!

      I agree with you about President dos Santos: he should be wiser. His actions reveal insecurity and perhaps he knows he doesn't possess the real power, and popular appreciation, that Paul Kagame has. Yes, balance is vital.

      Exactly, the people decides and their decision must be respected.

      Leila, thank you so much for your comment :D. Always a pleasure.



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