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Comparative Development: What Does Rwanda Have That South Sudan Does Not?

By Francis M. Malwal, Houston, Texas, USA

Thursday, May 14 2020 (PW) — According to Plecher (Nov 2019), Rwanda and South Sudan Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per Capita in 2014 were $727.9 7and $ 1 309.95, respectively, which means that South Sudan GDP per capita was 1.8 times higher than Rwanda.

Whereas Rwanda GDP per Capita has increased significantly to $ 824.18 in 2019, South Sudan GDP per capita has decreased sharply to $ 257.18, making Rwanda GDP per capita 3.2 times higher than that of South Sudan. In this article, I will discuss factors that make Rwanda grow more significant than South Sudan.

First of all, Rwanda is 23 times smaller in terms of area in kilometer squares than South Sudan. Being a small country has given Rwanda advantages of building and developing infrastructure much faster and cheaper than the vast space like South Sudan. For example, the construction of roads and water plans, as well as was the distribution of water pipes and electrical grids are faster and cheaper.

Secondly, Rwanda has a high-density population. Because of limited land, the Rwanda population concentrated in a small area. Unlike South Sudan, whose population scattered over a large area.  Besides community density, political stability and potential market attract investors.

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As more investors establish businesses in the country, more jobs are created that increases economic growth. On the other hand, the political instability, large area, as well as corruption all combined hinder economic development in South Sudan.  

Finally, Rwanda has excellent leadership. A leader like President Paul Kagame has a vision, clear strategy, and capacity to execute plans, strengthen institutions, and control conflicts. Moreover, he motivates and inspires his people to work hard to achieve their country objectives.

In contrast, South Sudan has a corrupt leader who has no vision, no strategy, and no capacity to control conflict or implement any plans. Therefore, such kind of leadership disappointed his people and encouraged laziness. The overall result is an economic failure and failing state.

In conclusion, Rwanda has advantages of being a small country that has a high-density population, and above all, its leadership. Although whatever Rwanda has, South Sudan could have it by focusing development in three small areas like the Size of Rwanda as the first phase of progress, especially if there is the right leadership.

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If a country has a corrupt leader, no matter much resources a country has, there will still be no growth, and an example is South Sudan. However, if a country has a good leader, no matter how limited resources are, there will still be progress, and the best example is Rwanda.

The author, Francis M. Malwal (B.Pharm. M.Pharm. FPGEC), is a South Sudanese pharmacist based in Houston, Texas, USA. He is the Former Head Department of Pharmacology, University of Juba, College of Medicine, and Chairman of Establishment Committee, African’s National Party. He can be reached via his email:

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