KIGALI – Rwanda’s capital is changing from a sleepy backwater where most things closed at 9:00 pm to a future Singapore with gleaming office blocks and all-night shopping. Ten years ago, ordering a coffee got you an imported tin of the worst kind of Nescafe accompanied by a pot of powdered milk. Now you can choose from expresso, macchiato or mocha from home-grown beans and the milk comes frothing out of a steamer. Rwanda’s ambitious “Vision 2020” plan seeks to transform the central African state into a middle-income country and acknowledges: “this will not be achieved unless we transform from a subsistence agriculture economy to a knowledge-based society”. The country has already successfully promoted top-end eco-tourism around the endangered mountain gorillas that live on the mist-clad slopes of the Virunga volcanoes. It has also positioned its coffee output at the speciality end of the market. “Kigali is one of the fastest-growing cities in Africa and we are committed to ensuring future growth is based on very good planning,” city Mayor Aisa Kirabo Kacyira told AFP. The Colorado-based OZ Architecture firm has developed a 50-year master plan for Kigali, incorporating a new international airport, and with entire districts of town given…
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