When people think of Rwanda they usually think of genocide or, if they've visited, maybe the Garden of Eden. Rwanda's beauty seems at odds with its past horrors. I first visited Rwanda when I was an MP, in 1998, four years after the genocide claimed between 800,000 - 1,000,000 lives. I went to a school where 10,000 people were herded, then murdered. I stood in a classroom where the victims' twisted screams were still clearly visible on their faces; the only signs of the UN were the plastic curtains with the UN logo, nailed over the windows to keep the flies out. As far as the international community was concerned, "never again" turned out to be a slogan, not a policy.

During the battle to host the 2012 Olympic Games, London's amazing diversity was our secret weapon and our winning asset. "Choose London, and you choose the world", we said. We won. Every morning when I drop my kids at school I now see the Olympic Stadium looming up where before there was a wasteland, and I'm incredibly excited – not just about the greatest sporting show on earth, but everything else that comes with it.

However a key criticism leveled at London 2012 has been that local communities, and particularly ethnically diverse communities, have yet to see equal benefit from the games arriving. For example, a few months ago a petition was launched in protest at black-owned business being 'carved out' of Olympics contracts. Perhaps it's no coincidence, then, that the biggest business-focused event happening anywhere in London during the Olympics is powered by London's black community. The African and Caribbean Business Expo, of which I am a patron, shines a light on the UK's diaspora businesses.

Genocide in Rwanda had been under way for 48 hours when 36-year-old Monique was told by a friend she would be killed. Monique fled, but her 12-year-old niece, Geraldine, was raped that night, and took years to die. "Aids is the second genocide," says Monique, who lost 27 members of her close family in 1994. That doesn't include her grandfather, who was murdered in 1963; her aunt, raped and murdered in 1973; and her father, attacked and interrogated in 1990, who later died from a heart attack. Monique's family provides a gruesome snapshot of 30 years of cyclical bloodshed that paved the way for genocide.

Early next week a French-led contingent of multinational troops will pull out of the Congo town of Bunia after barely three months of peacekeeping. Thankfully, some high-level diplomacy at the United Nations by the secretary general, Kofi Annan, has secured a replacement force to serve a further year in an attempt to end the regional conflict which since 1998 has claimed more than 3.3 million lives.