Impressions Of Rwanda: Through The Eyes Of Ex-DMD, Access Bank Rwanda

The Oasis Reporters

October 22, 2019

Former Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan with the Rwandan President, Paul Kagame at the WEF in Abuja, 2014.

Rwanda had over 50% access to electricity as at the time I left there in 2017 with a target to have 100% access by 2024. If you know Kagame’s execution capacity, then you know that the target date must be achieved.

I was there when they privatized the power sector assets and commenced a massive off grid expansion.

I did not have a generator in my house for the 3 years plus that I lived there. Even the generator in my office, (a bank within a large retail centre comprising a major supermarket and line shops etc) was hardly ever put on.

Now, using population difference to put down Rwanda’s achievement is ironic. 60-70% of Rwanda’s budget is funded by Taxes. If Nigeria could fund 60-70% of its budget through taxes from 200 million people our government will not complain of lack of revenue.

Every business in Rwanda has a Rwanda Revenue Authority electronic billing machine which makes tracking tax compliance easy, thus it is a crime to transact outside this machine.

The 15th and 16th of every month is tax payment day and banking halls spill over with people rushing to meet the deadline. None payment attracts severe penalties.

I hosted the management of Corona Secondary School, Agbara when they came to understudy two schools in Rwanda, one public and the other private (the private one is owned by a friend). Corona was chasing a particular international certification of which just a few schools in Africa had

… take that in for a moment.

Corona, one of the best and elitist schools in Nigeria came to understudy public schools in Rwanda!

I invited Lagos Business School’s OMP 22 Class of 2016 to Rwanda to understudy their public institutions. Almost all of them shed tears when they saw the difference. Since then, Rwanda has become part of their study tour.

Rwanda has about 96% universal health coverage, that is pushing to 100%. To put this in perspective, my driver in Rwanda had health insurance. Universal health coverage in Nigeria is still at 1% of our population.

Government offices mandatorily use 4G and are inexorably preparing for 5G, to the extent that video conference meetings is common for even local government councils.

By the way, Kigali is one of the cleanest cities in the world, and by far the cleanest city in Africa. The cleanliness was one of the first things my young daughter noted on her first visit.

Rwandese police use Radar guns to check over speeding. If you are caught breaking the speed limit, you are issued a ticket, your license is confiscated, and you have a limited window to pay the defined fine and collect your licence back at a traffic police office. No stories.

You can register a business and print your certificate of registration online in less than 3 hours. Registration and transfer of land title does not exceed 48 hours.

Other than Mauritius which is a tax haven, Rwanda has consistently led Africa in Ease of Doing Business.

The world understands the difference.. When my entry level Rwandese staff apply for a US tourist visa, they are given a 10-year multiple entry visa, yet a veteran traveler like my humble self for years hardly ever get beyond 2 years multiple entry.

One could just go on and on….

Written by Dr. Jekwu Ozoemene

Dr. Ozoemene was one time Deputy Managing Director, Access Bank (Rwanda) Ltd and later emerged as the Managing Director, Access Bank (Zambia) Limited.

Greg Abolo

Blogger at The Oasis Reporters.

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