US Politicians could learn about social media from those in Rwanda

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Rwanda is relatively small African country. According to the State Department the country is very poor and is working hard on economic and education reform. It is, in my opinion, working hard to improve its place in the world and the lives of its citizens.

With this in mind I reached out to Rwandan President Paul Kagame, on Twitter, to ask him about his thoughts on how open government could benefit the people of his country.

Q. President Kagame, how will Rwanda leverage open government in 2011? Do you have any plans in this area? Thank you.
A. More effective decentralisation,more access to info and communication tools to citizens. Strengthen national dialogue,build capacity.. Build on more participation and ideas that flow in the system…for more efficiency and productivity as we’ve seen in doing business…

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Q. Thank you Mr. President. Do you have an example of an open government process/system in place in Rwanda today? Again, thank you
A. E-govt,immigration n visa activities online …

These answers were given over twitter and were short and very basic. The answers, however, were given. The President of Rwanda took time to respond to someone he knew nothing about because that person, me in this case, took the time to ask him a few serious questions about his country and its people.

How often does this occur with politicians in the United States? Not often. While many politicians understand the need for engagement when they are running for office, few carry this understanding forward once elected. For those that have not yet made their New Years Resolutions, here is one to consider. Engage with your citizens daily, not just at election time.

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