Many thanks to Immaculee for the care she took in producing this gorgeous and informative card for Geography Cat of her home nation Rwanda.
Rwanda has a turbulent and painful past, like so many nations, but since the genocide of 1994 the country has made what the World Bank deemed to be “remarkable development success.” It is an optimistic, hardworking nation with much to be proud of. One of the most impressive statistics about Rwanda is their gender equality. Rwanda ranks fifth in the world for equality between men and women, way ahead of higher income countries such as the USA or UK. Over 60% of elected politicians are female too. There is an excellent article about this on the World Economic Forum website.
Tourism is important to Rwanda’s economic development, and a vital component of the tourist industry here is the provision of specialized tours to view the mountain gorillas. Mountain gorillas are a critically endangered species but their numbers are growing, and sustainable eco-tourism is helping to protect them by giving their environment a way to prosper economically without allowing overwhelming human development. The WWF estimate the one mountain gorilla can generate GBP 2.5m of tourist income in its lifetime; valuable foreign income that can be used to improve the lives of local people as well as the gorillas.
However, as Immaculee points out, Rwanda has much more “beauty beyond gorillas;” the stunning scenery of Akagera and Nyungwe National Parks, the diverse wildlife, interesting geology, and geomorphology and the capital city of Kigali for example.
Kigali is known for its efficiency and cleanliness. In fact, Rwanda was the first country in the world to outlaw single-use plastic bags and bottles, and everyone is involved in community clean-ups and improvements on the last Saturday of each month.