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Reality check

Nick Ericsson Nick Ericsson | 17:35 UK time, Monday, 25 July 2011

This has just appeared online. It's from the latest BBC Focus on Africa magazine. A good news story - as requested by a number of our readers. Or is it?
For Kigali's many supporters in London and Washington, this speaks to Rwanda's continuing success as a nation. In fact, the government is pushing for not only wider access to healthcare, but also wants the population to be more tech savvy. Actually, the president seems to be leading the way. He's got a twitter account. Not only that but he seems to use it daily - unlike other presidents who are online but release a ceremonial tweet once a month about some bland government initiative.
But Rwanda has serious problems too. Human rights groups are persistent in their accusations that political dissent is not tolerated at all - and that the government even goes after its critics abroad. I remember speaking to someone a few years back who had visited the country and said he couldn't wait to leave because of the feeling of unease there.
So that's the dilemma, 17 years after the genocide. Yes healthcare initiatives are showing results. Yes, Kigali is said to be clean and relatively safe from crime. And yes, the country is plugged in and online. All extraordinary achievements considering where Rwanda was in 1994.
But without obvious political freedom, what does this all mean really?

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