President Kagame with the Minister for Agriculture Dr. Agnes Karibata during the launch of Kigali Agriculture Park at Rwanda Special Economic Zone.
Progressive in many ways, Kagame has pushed for more women in political office, and today Rwanda has a higher percentage of them in Parliament than any other country. His countless devotees, at home and abroad, say he has also delicately re-engineered Rwandan society to defuse ethnic rivalry, the issue that exploded there in 1994 and that stalks so many African countries, often dragging them into civil war”. Most Rwandans are peasants, their lives inexorably yoked to the land, and just about every inch of that land, from the papyrus swamps to the cloud-shrouded mountaintops, is spoken for. When I asked Kagame how he planned to address this, he said one of his top priorities was encouraging women to stop having so many children.
Member of the Coffee cooperative shows President Kagame the Coffee that was ranked 7th worldwide Southern Province of Rwanda 19 February 2013.
“We educated the woman both in school and generally in society to say: ‘No,’ ” he told me, his forehead wrinkled in concentration. “Go for something else. You deserve better.” Changing such deep-seated attitudes takes a long time, he said, “but it works.”