Contribution to the whole instead of playing pointless games – What we can learn from Rwanda

Last week in our ‘Learning Journey to Rwanda’ we visited more than a dozen companies and institutions. We met the Rwanda Development Board, the phenomenal Israel Bimpe and Irembo, Zipline, Norrsken, MunyaxEco, Rwanda Mountain Tea, Pink Mango and others.

We always met people who were committed and humble, who put their leadership role into the overall context, who didn’t perceive themselves as overly important, and who had the big picture in mind.

Rwanda …

… is a country under construction. Its history is defined by the genocide of 1994 when more than 800.000 people died. Since then, the country has made professional efforts to reconcile. And it has set up a professional administration with engaged development plans.

At the front, there is a mission. The country wants to become the hub of Africa’s service sector and an important conference location. And it wants to become an upper-income country where poverty no longer exists.

This mission is widely respected and sets the direction. Decisions are made within this context; at the government level, as well as at the level of the many companies.

Contribution to the whole

Admittedly, it is always easier to create something new on a greenfield site than to try to change complex structures as is in Europe the case. Rwanda has taken advantage of this.

But how are we performing in Europe in this respect?

Unfortunately, the pandemic has shown that even on important issues, where the well-being of society as a whole is at stake, a constructive debate was hardly possible. A polarisation of society was the consequence.

The situation is similar with the currently most important issue, the fight against inflation. An unbearable quarrel between the opposition and the government is preventing a proper debate and problem-solving for the good of society.

Although European societies too would have a greater mission to fulfil, the transition to a carbon-neutral economy.

Not that Rwanda is perfect.
But bearing in mind the leadership principle `Contribution to the Whole´, we in Europe could learn from Rwanda.


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