Rwanda’s permanent secretary to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, and secretary to the Treasury, cuts an unexpected figure. Just 33 years old and female, Kampeta Sayinzoga is far from the normal demographic for someone in her job.
“I’m in a position that normally should be for a 65 year old man, and I’m a 33 year old woman,” she tells This is Africa, seated on couches in her plain office in downtown Kigali, Rwanda’s capital. “It sends a signal to the youth, that if you work hard and develop your skills, there’s absolutely no reason why – at 27, even – you shouldn’t be in this seat.”
A masters in economic development from Nottingham University, a stint with the World Bank and time as the ministry’s chief economist and director of macro policy, as well as exposure to a variety of political systems in Belgium, South Africa and the UK, all make Ms Sayinzoga an example par excellence of a young, cosmopolitan generation of policy makers making their way into African governments.