Rwanda has made a dramatic economic recovery in the two decades since 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus were butchered by Hutu extremists. David Pollard reports.
It's one of the fastest moving economies in Africa. Where many Rwandans - enjoying an average growth rate of seven per cent for the last decade - say they're going places. Here they assemble what's needed to get them there. RMC is American funded - but hopes to manufacture bikes at home too - by the end of the year. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SALES MANAGER, RWANDA MOTORCYCLE COMPANY, LOUIS MATENGESHA "The government is now encouraging this "Made in Rwanda" thing and that is where we are heading." The prospects, they say, look good. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SALES MANAGER, RWANDA MOTORCYCLE COMPANY, LOUIS MATENGESHA "We have 17 staff, full time staff for the moment but we are planning to have more than 100 staff in 6 months but also we contribute in job creation in the country because we are giving motorcycles to be used as taxis and that has been a very successful business here in Rwanda and we are thinking of creating a lot of motorcycle taxi jobs here in Kigali and in the region." It's part of a success story that's seen Rwanda shake off the legacy of a brutal past. 800,000 people killed in ethnic bloodshed two decades ago. (SOUNDBITE) (English) EUROPEAN UNION AMBASSADOR TO RWANDA, MICHAEL RYAN "I think that we can all see the progress has been extraordinary ... European Union has been a great partner of Rwanda over the last two decades particularly in the rebuilding after the genocide of this country. We've been a partner to Rwanda in that and we've always been happy to accompany this development and this growth and we have arrived at a stage where we are today where we see fairly well run health sector and where the infrastructure has made remarkable achievements and progress." Much of the credit, say observers, must go to Paul Kagame. The former rebel leader turned president, now bidding for a third term in office. Not everyone is jumping for joy at that prospect ... But his supporters point to a booming economy, and a relatively corruption-free government. Critics accuse him of brutality against opponents, abuse of civil liberties and the press. If even they too welcome one other freedom - of the road.