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This week in the Great Lakes: Rwanda expands beyond gorilla tourism

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Melanie Stetson Freeman/ The Christian Science Monitor

(Read caption) Guide Damas Habinsauti holds up a barbed wire fence for tourists hiking up to visit the mountain gorillas. Only about 700 mountain gorillas are left in the world and they all live in a small area in Rwanda, Uganda and Congo. Five gorilla groups in the park get visits from tourists for a maximum of one hour a day.

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Welcome to the first of my weekly Great Lakes news roundups, which I'll publish every Friday in conjunction with the Christian Science Monitor's Africa Monitor blog, a daily must-read for what's happening across the continent. If you see important, interesting or downright quirky news, send it my way.

In Rwanda, the shift to English language education has the country looking abroad for teachers. The World Bank gives Rwanda $70 million to reduce the student-teacher ratio, now 63:1. The Dutch consider cutting aid, given this summer’s troublesome news cycle. This after the Dutch, in 2008, froze direct budget support because of Rwandan dealings in Congo – the latest allegations of which the government denies.

On Saturday, Rwanda donated $1 million to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, joining 8 other countries who both give to and receive from the fund. On Sunday, the country inked a $379 million deal with the Global Fund. And tourism may grow beyond gorillas. “We’d like to show people not just the genocide, but Rwanda’s history before colonization, before the genocide,” the head of tourism said.


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