In Costa Rica, With Rwanda On My Mind

In Costa Rica, where tourism has been shut down and our own business interests completely on hold, I have resilience of family farms on my mind, which may seem quite a narrow focus but it is my choice, for now. Even with that narrow focus, as always I enjoy stories about this little country’s contributions to the world (click above). But Costa Rica is not the only little country doing remarkable things, it just happens to be where I live and work.

Newly constructed terraces in Rwanda

Rwanda has had experience in similar health crises, managing to successfully contain Ebola from its borders in 2019

This hunger for stories about little countries and their phenomenal achievements keeps me searching for stories to share here each day. And I just found one worth sharing. BBC’s website has a story in their travel section today on what they believe will be the five most resilient economies in terms of recovery from the current combined health and economic crisis. They use the 2019 Global Resilience Index to make some baseline inferences and then share their own expert opinion on how this would translate to recovery. I was struck that Rwanda, a country I have been musing about since Seth’s field work there last year, was in their top five:

Rwanda

We felt confident that the Rwandan government would handle the situation way better than in our home countries

Due to recent improvements in corporate governance, Rwanda has made some of the largest leaps in the index in recent years, jumping 35 spots to its current rank of 77th most resilient in the world (and fourth highest in Africa). Most importantly, it looks particularly well positioned to bounce back from this type of crisis as the country successfully contained Ebola from its borders after an outbreak from neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2019. With its mix of universal health care, medical supply-delivering drones and thermometer checks at its borders, Rwanda stands to be well-equipped to maintain stability throughout the crisis, especially when compared to other countries in the region.

“A lot of foreign students like me stayed behind because we felt confident that the Rwandan government would handle the situation way better than in our home countries,” said Garnett Achieng, digital content curator for Baobab Consulting and student at the African Leadership University, who lives in Kigali and is originally from Kenya. “Amongst foreign African students, the only anxiety comes with knowing that our families back home are not in the same situation we are in.”

Rwanda was the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to impose a total lockdown, and is already distributing free food door-to-door to the country’s most vulnerable. While tourism is expected to be hit hard, as Rwanda is a popular destination for many international conferences and exhibitions, Achieng is hopeful that the country will have relatively few casualties to the virus, making it well-positioned to recover quickly…

Read the whole article here.

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