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Appearances are deceptive if you arrive at Kigali’s modern and efficient airport, and drive along the well-maintained roads past newly completed office blocks and the Parliament building. Even on leaving the capital for the rural areas, you see such ordered and verdant fertility that it is difficult to believe that Rwanda could possibly suffer from environmental problems, that people could go hungry and be malnourished, that communities could live in an abject poverty from which there is no obvious means of escape. And yet they do. Why? And what are the prospects for the future?
The answers to these questions are not simple. They are buried in the country’s long history, in the interaction of local,regional, and international forces which need to be understood individually before they can make sense collectively.

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