Twenty-nine short years ago, today, Rwanda descended into hell, thanks to a bloodthirsty regime that set out to implement a long hatched plan to exterminate a section of the population in what eventually became known as the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. Over the next 100 days, a million people were slaughtered across the country, thousands were left with lifelong wounds and scars, while the genocidal machinery herded millions others into exile where they held them hostage and abused them with impunity. When the Rwanda Patriotic Front/Army eventually liberated the country – against all odds – three months later, streets, suburbs, places of worship and villages across Rwanda were strewn with bodies, while the country was no more than a basket case. Rwanda was on its knees and so hopeless not even the most optimistic saw a clear path to recovery let alone bouncing back in a manner we’ve witnessed since. Nearly three decades after the RPF embarked on a daunting journey to lead and inspire Rwandans back from the brink and to build a safe and inclusive country, Rwanda is unrecognisable from the desperate failed state it had been reduced to by the genocidaires. The country has made dramatic progress across all socioeconomic indicators, with the fifth Population and Housing Census, released earlier this year, indicating that life expectancy of Rwandans had increased from 64.5 years in 2012 to 69.6 years in 2022. In 1994, life expectancy had plummeted to just 14 years (down from 42 years in 1993), before rising to 47 years in 2000. Notable gains have also been made in health, education, energy, water access, sanitation, housing and other aspects, while Rwandans have also embraced reconciliation, inclusion and a sense of shared heritage and common future. Internationally, Rwanda has distinguished itself in the fight against corruption and climate change, as well as promotion of gender equality and doing business, with a government that consistently scores highly in economic transformation as well as the level of public trust and efficiency. Today, as Rwandans at home and abroad pause to reflect on the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and to pay homage to the victims, it’s yet another opportunity to renew our resolve and commitment to continue to build a country every Rwandan is proud to call home, and one that cares for its future generations as much as today’s. And, as echoed through the commemoration theme, ‘Kwibuka Twiyubaka’, or ‘Remember-Unite-Renew’, it’s critical that all Rwandans rally behind the government’s leave-no-one-behind agenda, with a view to help lift living standards for all and inspire the country to a middle income economy status sooner rather than later. Of course, Rwanda wouldn’t be looking ahead to a bright future and boasting of countless achievements since 1994, had it not been for the spirit of resilience, bravery and sacrifices that have characterized the people of Rwanda in their painstaking efforts to rise above their bitter past, characterized by hate and ethnic politics, and embrace hope and the notion of the greater good. Indeed, Rwandans gave themselves and their country a chance and today stand tall in the community of nations. In particular, we owe a great deal of gratitude as a people to Genocide survivors for answering the call of forgiveness and reconciliation, and in so doing, afforded the country an opportunity to heal and forge ahead. There is no doubt that, if we stay together, we will only go from strength to strength. On this somber occasion of commemoration of the Genocide against the Tutsi, we join all Rwandans in solidarity and wish survivors strength as we honour the victims and keep their memory alive.