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Rwanda: how far covid 19 affected arts

By Anne Muhiza

In Rwanda, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as well as individual artists are leveraging digital technologies to reach a wider global market. The global economy has been brought almost to its knees from the severe, wide and deep impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic—placing all past development gains at risk. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused disruption to businesses, job losses and household livelihoods, resulting in increased poverty—with the poorest and vulnerable suffering the most. In addition, the resultant illness has overwhelmed health systems and social safety net responses, with the burden being proportionately higher for Africa’s weaker economies. The total impact is yet to be accurately determined through more in-depth analyses.

Art is a profession that has already made great stride, especially among the youth, where the majority of the youth who were graduands used to be unemployed, the republic encouraged young people to start their own businesses, which has led some to open their eyes and start using some of their talents including art.

Cedric IRADUKUNDA at work.

Urugoli Media interviewed some of the art-doers:

Cedric IRADUKUNDA a sketcher said “When I decided to do art, I got inspiration from people behaviors and I’ve seen that this entire life is leading us to working harder, that’s when I started to draw because I knew that I had that talent. Every profession has it challenges, that’s how I faced some challenges as well in this art doing journey. One of them is about pricing my products, because in Rwanda still the art stuffs are not given enough value, so when I’m negotiating with the client they lower the prices. it is a big challenge for me because I also need to gain and thrive.”

In Rwandan Culture where a girl is, characterized by well organized things. According to, Josiane INEZA a designer woman from Remera, she said to Urugoli Media “I like to design a place for it to look good, some of the things I use to design include flowers, drawings and art pieces called imigongo. I buy finished art products from those makers and I sell to others at an advanced price for them to design their houses. And I can’t say that they are expensive because they deserve the prices they have, for every beautiful things require sacrifices and price and though they can have higher prices, they helps us to have beauty in our homes. For me, finding a prepared place is a pleasure for me.”

Art is a benefiting job like others and it is invested in bringing development to the country and using our talents is one of the ways to create jobs that lead to the development that we want.

Rwanda was in the middle of an economic boom prior to the COVID-19 pandemic with a real economic growth of 9.4 percent in 2019, driven mostly by large public investments for implementation of the National Strategy of Transformation. With the advent of COVID-19, international flows of goods and services have been seriously disrupted with significant spill over to the global economy. The services sector which accounts for over half of Rwanda’s gross domestic product has taken a strong hit amid disruption in international trade and travel. Conservative estimates for 2020 have reduced economic growth by about 7 percentage points to between 2 and 3.5 % signaling the acute impact already on Rwanda.

The UN underlines the desire to join efforts to support the Government of Rwanda to fight and end the COVID-19 pandemic and build back together to accelerate development and well-being of the people of Rwanda -- leaving no one behind.

Cedric IRADUKUNDA at work.
Some of arts pieces by Josiane INEZA.

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