Africa Center Director J. Peter Pham is quoted in the Jewish Daily Forward on Rwandan President Paul Kagame’s legacy:
Immediately after the genocide, Kagame, who later became president, was the driving force behind the scenes in planning and executing Rwanda’s reconstruction. He is credited with having sought to promote ethnic reconciliation. Among other things, he banned ethnic-identified political activity. A flood of international aid came in from countries that had studiously avoided action when the genocide was taking place. A stream of foreign investments, in turn, followed. Rwanda became an economic miracle and has seen an average growth rate of 7 percent since the genocide. Its capital, Kigali, is now known as the cleanest city in Africa. “Between the guilt over inaction against the genocide and amazement at Rwanda’s accomplishments, we’ve not looked critically enough at the country,” said Peter Pham, director of the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center.
But questions about Kagame’s conduct have hardly changed international support for his government, nor have they deterred the Jewish community from engaging with it.