Rebuilding after Conflict and Strengthening Fragile States: A View from Rwanda

Post-conflict states face more difficulties than others to develop. This is not surprising considering the many challenges associated with ensuring peace and stability, reconstructing the state, re-building infrastructure, etc. Africa indeed has a number of examples of post-conflict states that struggle with improving their desperate condition. The new aid paradigm, that focuses on country ownership of development and the strengthening of country systems to deliver services to the population is challenged by postconflict and fragile states where a State’s capacity to manage its own affairs is low and scrutiny of the Government by the public is not possible. In case a government does not appear to make progress to improve these, how can one improve effectiveness of Development Partners support? Rwanda is among the post-conflict countries that have demonstrated a leadership capable of successfully initiating and guiding a thorough national transformation process. Yet, capacity challenges facing most African countries, especially post-conflict and fragile ones, are still blighting Rwanda’s development. Conflict destroys capacity at the individual, organizational and environment level, and amplify brain drain. In this context, harmonizing skills development schemes with the market needs of an economy recovering from conflict is not easy. Rwanda’s experience indicates a strong correlation between the “leading change” capacity of leadership and the country’s development, and that progress, quick and remarkable, is achievable for post-conflict and fragile African States.