At the start of the pandemic, we were worried. Like many others, we were concerned about how COVID would affect us and our own families and communities, but we also feared for our overseas project partners. How would communities in Rwanda, Zambia and DR Congo handle a virus pandemic without many of the medical and technological advantages the UK takes for granted? We actually prayed that God would have mercy on our friends and their nations.
Well, God was merciful indeed and may have had some help with wise decisions from people on the ground. This month, a piece of research published by the Lowy Institute in Australia ranks all three of the nations we were most concerned about in the top 40 globally for their handling of COVID. DR Congo is ranked 39th, Zambia 29th and Rwanda as high as 6th. It's worth noting that other African nations have also performed very well. Togo, Tunisia, Mozambique, Cote d'Ivoire, Senegal and Madagascar all appear in the top 40. The UK is ranked 66th.
The obvious question is how these results have been possible. There will be time for a fuller investigation of that point later but, as a Rwandan news outlet has observed, there are likely to be a number of contributory factors:
We praise God for his mercy and for the wisdom of African decision makers. And, not for the first time, we must ask whether there are lessons the UK can learn from Rwanda.