Ideas, Stories, and Profiles

Rwanda seems to be managing the pandemic quite fine. As a low-income country, with a small but growing economy, staying alert and resilient is critical. For what it means, ours was the first government to impose a lockdown on the continent. We have kept a far more open mind than most countries in Africa. Good thing Rwanda also wants to spearhead vaccine manufacturing from this part of the world. Leadership in a time of crisis is important. So we take note that all plausible efforts have taken ground in good leadership, and where leaders have fallen short, things can be corrected.

I am telling you this because, as the world faces the Delta variant, a more dangerous mutation of the virus first identified in India, now is a good time to reflect on what leadership for the near future could mean. It is true that people are fatigued and overwhelmed by everything-Covid at this point. But good things have emerged from individuals and organizations, from all walks of life, working hard to mitigate the negative impact of the pandemic on our lives. Even governments and businesses have woken up to revamp their strategies as they are less reluctant to try out new ways of doing things. History tells us, it turns out, that after pandemics people spend more, take more risks, and demand more of their leaders. Halfway through the second year of the pandemic, it is fair to say this has begun to take shape.

We now more than ever have the challenge to think and act ahead of time, to be smarter than the virus. Throughout the pandemic, we have been advised to follow the science and many have done so. One other good thing that has emerged is that scientists have also learned to listen to non-scientists. But to understand the pandemic, it is important to understand the data. This is not always easy.

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