Photo shows Rwandan presidential candidate and incumbent President Paul Kagame voting in Kigali, capital city of Rwanda, on Aug. 4, 2017. (Xinhua/Gabriel Dusabe)
by Lyu Tianran, Frank Kanyesigye and James Gashumba
KIGALI, Aug. 12 (Xinhua) -- Rwandan National Electoral Commission on Wednesday announced final results of the presidential elections, declaring the incumbent president Paul Kagame as the winner.
The central African country has been recovering since the 1994 genocide, which was stopped by the then rebel Rwandan Patriotic Front led by Kagame. With many achievements made since then, analysts predict that the government still faces challenges in the next 7-year presidential term.
The main goals should be working on consolidating what has been achieved for the past seven years, said Antastase Shyaka, Chief Executive Officer of the Rwanda Governance Board.
The CEO also pointed out areas where performance is relatively low and the needs are high, including for instance, infrastructure developments like access electricity, road construction, promotion of made in Rwanda products, among others.
The government led by the elected president should focus on speeding up access to electricity across the country, he told Xinhua in an interview.
Focusing on key drivers of the economy will help the country to reach a middle income status by 2020, he said.
"We also need to focus on higher levels of accountability and institutional development in the next seven years," he said.
Jean de la Croix Nkurayija, a lecturer of political science at the University of Rwanda, believed that challenges will rise.
"For example, youth unemployment still remains as a hindrance, high population growth in relation to available resources, low industries, low productivity in agriculture due to climate change and so on," he said.
He also pointed out that Rwanda is experiencing challenges including shortage of land, brain drain, high rural-urban migration, as well as pollution caused by vehicles.
"Finally, in the absence of anticipation strategies related to some challenges, issues like moral corruption will continue to knock on the door," he said.
President Paul Kagame is needed to stay in office to accomplish what he has started and planned and he is the one that has a big picture of sustainability of this nation, said the expert, adding that the need to work hand in hand with other political parties, private sector and civil society is very important.
According to him, developing a strong and fair partnership locally, regionally and internationally will be the best way to achieve all targets mentioned in vision 2020, and to overcome and prevent all challenges faced by the nation for the next two decades.
A key challenge will be trying to find ways to reduce the country's dependence on aid, said Frederick Golooba-Mutebi, researcher and writer on politics and public affairs.
According to the researcher, Rwanda is a poor country with a small economy and not enough natural resources that means resources will continue to short as they have been over the last 23 years.
Rwanda still faces a challenge by ways of its relations with neighboring countries like Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo especially, and France, he said.
"Another challenge will be sorting out issues related to transitioning from Kagame to a successor," said Golooba-Mutebi.
According to Herman Musahara, Associate Professor of University of Rwanda, Kagame will face challenges of maintaining a high economic rate of growth under sometimes adverse external environment, eradicating extreme poverty and reducing inequality to reasonable levels, establishing a fundamental structural transformation of the economy to promote more industries and reach a middle income status, creating more jobs for the youth and maintaining the peace and security.
"It would be great if in the next 7 years, that government focuses on making the country a truly regional hub for services and conferences by continued investment in infrastructure, strengthening Rwandair, service delivery, security," said Christopher Kayumba, Senior Lecturer, School of Journalism and Communication, University of Rwanda.
The government could create jobs and support small businesses by making the tax code less complex and treating penalties as a tool to help businesses grow, he said.
Kagame has been president since 2000 when he was elected by ministers and members of parliament following the resignation of then President Pasteur Bizimungu. He was re-elected in the 2003 and 2010 presidential elections.
According the constitution of Rwanda revised in 2015, the presidential term will reduce from 7 years to 5 years after Kagame's third term expires.