15 Jul 2012 | Quickly through Rwanda

#coffee and #cake

Sometimes good does come from the bad. A major national disaster can allow a country to take a step back and evaluate its purpose and, perhaps, destiny, on a national level.
One such example is Rwanda. After the horrific genocide of the early nineties, Rwanda is emerging as one of the fastest changing, and growing, economies of east Africa, currently third in Africa as far as year on year real GDP growth goes. Sure, a lot of that is due to the somewhat iron fist of Kagame, who slowly is is displaying more and more dictatorial traits, but Rwanda after the genocide is also a nation of people who realized a more heavy hand was needed to get everyone more aligned to work on a more prosperous, and shared, future.

Rwanda aims to become the ICT hub of east Africa, has an organized public transport system, no mean feat in africa, and is amongst the most open governments in Africa.
And, so it seems, the national carrier, RwandAir, eyes up its chances of becoming a regional, if not continental, player, by offering what probably are the lowest prices on many of the routes it operates on.
My Entebbe to Dar flight is under 320 USD for a round trip, Entebbe to Jo'burg can be had for 550. A pity that they don't fly to Lusaka, where I need to be in August. The cheapest connection between Entebbe and Lusaka is a surprising 640 USD, for a journey that is some 800km shorter compared to going to Jo'burg, each way.

However, though RwandAir is slowly expanding its reach, Kigali airport isn't yet ready for the future onslaught of passengers in transit. The airport is tiny, has only three gates, with only one operating, with two tax free 'shops' operating from the open plan of the departure lounge, simply for lack of space. Interestingly, they sell chilled, boxed, wine, for a mere three USD per liter.

My personal east African empire is expanding, working on a website which aims to be the primary source on land issues in Tanzania. This, for ActionAid.

Tagged with: Dar Es Salaam disaster ICT Kagame Kigali Rwanda


  • Me

After obtaining an M. Sc in maths, Babak Fakhamzadeh started with an office job at a major blue chip company but soon realised he'd do better on his own. Babak is a traveling web guru with a penchant for doing good and a love for visual and experimental art. Together with Eduardo Cachucho, he won the World Summit Award in the m-Tourism and Culture category in 2012 for Dérive app. With Ismail Farouk, he won the Highway Africa new media award in 2007 for Soweto Uprisings . com. Check out Babak's CV.


Babak is currently in Bolivia.
+31 6 14240966 (The Netherlands)

February/March 2015