Working Paper

From devastation to services-first transformation

Since civil war and genocide left the country in ruins, Rwanda has undergone a remarkable transformation. Growth rates since 1995 have averaged 8 per cent annually, poverty rates have fallen, maternal and child health have improved, and infrastructure and public institutions have been rebuilt.

This article examines the determinants of the growth path of the Rwandan economy, focusing on: the central role of government; the structural transformation of the economy; the role of exports and foreign investment; and particularly the role of ‘industries without smokestacks’. Policy coherence, together with substantial international support, allowed Rwanda to embark on a growth path.