Swedish legislators meet Kagame, commend accountable leadership

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The Swedish delegation called on President Kagame at Village Urugwiro yesterday. (Village Urugwiro)

President Paul Kagame, yesterday, hosted a delegation of members of the Swedish Parliament at Village Urugwiro in Kigali.

The meeting was aimed at familiarising Swedish legislators with Rwanda’s government policies and strategies that have enabled the East African country to register commendable economic growth 21 years after the 1994 Genocide against the Tusti—which claimed over 1 million people, according to Ulf Kristersson, the head of the visiting delegation.

Addressing the media shortly after meeting President Kagame, Kristersson, who doubles as the vice chairperson of the finance committee in the Swedish Parliament, said the discussion highlighted one common word, “accountability” which reflects the secret behind Rwanda’s progress.

“We had a broad range of discussions with the President, regarding international affairs, economy and Information Technology, among others. We are very inspired,” said Kristersson.

“There is one word that keeps coming back all the time, and that’s accountability, for leaders and citizens, to do, to contribute and to invest in the future,” he added.

Kristersson said Rwanda’s accountable leadership could be a general lesson for any country regardless of their history or present situation, in a bid to establish strong economic transformation. 

“Even for a country like Sweden, with a long history and relatively rich that is worth thinking about, it is also a general advice for countries, regardless of whether you have as dramatic history as Rwanda or a slower history like Sweden,” he said.

Sweden has been one of Rwanda’s main bilateral partner in the Nordic region. The cooperation between the two countries followed the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi.

The Swedish Government, on June 17 last year, approved a new four-year strategy for development cooperation for Rwanda covering the period 2015-2019. 

The deal focuses on job creation for women, the youth, democracy and human rights as well as capacity building in climate and environmental matters.

The Speaker of Parliament, Donatille Mukabalisa, noted that it was important for the visitors to know that accountability for every Rwandan citizen has been vital in making the country what it is today.

Mukabalisa added that the discussion also touched on strengthening the ‘already firm” bilateral relations.

“As members of Finance and budget committee in the Swedish Parliament, they also wanted to know how the Rwandan Budget is effected, and the role of Parliament in budget implementation and accountability of taxpayers’ money,” the Speaker said. 

One of the central areas of Swedish development cooperation with Rwanda in the recent years has been education.

More than 50 Rwandan PhD scholars are now studying at various Swedish universities, while Sweden is also an active partner of the University of Rwanda through setting up post-graduate courses, training local lecturers as well as sending Swedish lecturers to teach at UR.

This area of cooperation has existed for the last two years.

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