ADDIS ABABA – Rwanda’s recent development success showcases the need for African countries to craft country-specific models of governance structure, an Ethiopian scholar has said.
Costantinos Bt. Costantinos, a professor of public policy at the Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia, told Xinhua in a recent interview that African countries should analyze their overall situation before rolling out an administrative and governance model that can best suit their comprehensive trajectory.
“In Africa, we have to have our own (governance) models and this needs a situation analysis, addressing issues such as where is any given country in Africa? What is its trajectory for development? What is its colonial and post-colonial history? What do the people really want?” Costantinos said.
The scholar, who served as an economic advisor to the African Union Commission and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, singled out Rwanda as a positive example in crafting a country-specific system that drives the country’s socioeconomic development. “Rwanda has been one of the most tormented countries in history. Several genocides in history, in which the 1994 genocide completely changed Rwanda,” Costantinos said.
According to the scholar, the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) party, under the leadership of the country’s President Paul Kagame, was able to heal the country after it carefully analyzed the country’s overall situation after the 1994 Rwandan genocide against Tutsi.
“The RPF, under President Kagame, was there to heal Rwanda from the genocide; and there after the main purpose of the government was to be able to reestablish the country as a peaceful country and as an economically developing country,” said Costantinos.
He argued that Rwandan authorities, by eliminating ethnicity and galvanizing the people to work in tandem with the government toward creating a united country, were able to bring the previously highly-divided nation into a development path with a unity of purpose among its populace.
The progressive nature of Rwanda’s leaders in terms of economic development has been effective in terms of transforming Rwanda into becoming the center of Africa’s recent development trajectory, the scholar emphasized. What Rwanda has done “is to focus on development entirely and also to look into a very strong Rwanda that can protect itself from a myriad of conflicts that we have around the region,” Costantinos said.
According to the scholar, for African countries to replicate the recent success of Rwanda, they need to set their core national priorities going forward in the form of ensuring health security, education and protection of citizens, among others. He suggested that African countries should emulate Rwanda’s success in terms of creating an intelligent state, which is able to effectively engage its society as the mainstay for development.
Rwanda “has created an intelligent state, in a sense a state that responds to people’s needs; a state that responds to investors’ needs; a state that looks into the 21st century in terms of ICT, general telecommunications development, artificial intelligence to some degree and the training of young people,” he argued.
The scholar, however, stressed that African countries should stabilize their socioeconomic and political systems as well as build strong institutions before rushing into fulfilling calls in urgently practicing democracy.
“The West demands that we have elections as soon as any change comes. So, we are really parachuting democracy into the population,” he said. Costantinos believed that Rwanda’s success in this regard was effectively going through a political and cultural process of development with strong trust between the people and its leaders, ultimately facilitating gradual transformation of the country toward inclusive development.
“Creating this kind of society, an economic society, would result in the development of more plural democracy,” he said. – Xinhua News