Tonight is my last night in Kigali. Another day of work tomorrow and then off on a much-to-long trip home to Frankfurt via Addis and Riyadh. The last days have been quite stressfull because we are on the last mile of putting together an important project proposal for a funding agency. This is also why I will only have a day back home until I travel to The Hague and Amsterdam to meet up with consultants helping us put together the application.
I want to recap a couple of the most interesting things I learned during my time here:
1) Rwanda is pretty advanced. I am excited to see where it stands in a decade.
2) International development aid is big. But often too slow and unfocused.
3) Government and private sector should develop at similar speeds.
4) Mushrooms are difficult to grow and also easy-looking businesses require expertise.
5) The right balance between expats and locals is crucial in your workforce.
6) Access to skilled labour is a challenge for businesses.
7) You have to be persistent to succeed as an entrepreneur even when things do not work out.
8) Moving to Africa means sacrificing a lot of things we take for granted.
9) Connections are key in a new environment.
10) Africa is full of opportunities.
One last story that made me realize how difficult it is to change something here:
We didnt have running water for some days and decided to fill up the tank manually. Everyone was craving a shower and we worked for several hours lifting up water containers to fill the tank. I had blisters on my hands and was sore all over my body. By then I decided to never let the water run when I was putting tothpaste on my toothbrush or when I was washing my hair in the shower.
Well, I kept the promise for two days and then returned to my bad habits.
In order to really bring this country, but also all other societies, forward, civil society, governments and all other stakeholder have to get over enjoying the short-term benefit and move on to working on collaboratively on big issues.
In diesem Sinne.
Cheers + bis bald,