paul kagameThe Rwanda Development Board has hired Winning Strategies Washington for a $180K one-year campaign to engage DC officials on "issues related to US-Africa policy/trade matters" and to further its political relationship with this country.

Rwanda president Paul Kagame was among leaders to attend the US-Africa Summit earlier this month in Washington.

In power for the past 14 years, Kagame scores high marks from leading Rwanda from the depths of its 1994 genocide, which resulted in the murder of 700K people, and spurring economic growth.

Transparency International, which studied Rwanda's financial management and monetary policy, rated the nation "one of the cleanest countries in Sub-Sahara Africa."

Kagame's Vision 2020 program seeks to shift Rwanda from an agricultural-oriented economy to once focused on services over the next six years.

Kagame, though, has been rapped on the rights front by both the State Dept. and Human Rights Watch for suppression of dissent and "disappearance" of Kagame's political opponents.

Michael Merola is co-founder of WSW.