President Paul Kagame, on Monday, received a delegation of Young Presidents’ Organisation (YPO) led by the organisation’s international chairman, Pascal Gerken.
The 80-member delegation is comprised of young business leaders from Belgium, USA, Monaco, Luxembourg, Lebanon, UK, Kenya and the Great Lakes YPO Chapter.
The organisation is the largest global network of business leaders with more than 26,000 in more than 130 countries.
The objective of the visit to Rwanda, themed “Journey to Rwanda – November 2018”, is to learn the country’s history, and to explore business and investment opportunities that Rwanda has to offer.
President Kagame spoke with Young Presidents Association members on a range of topics, specifically about Rwanda’s progress and on challenges for Africa’s transformation.
“We are convinced what we have had in our past is not what we deserve, what we deserve is in our future. We all go together and we don’t want to leave anyone behind; that is more or less like a religion for us,” Kagame told the young leaders.
During their stay in the country, the delegation has had the opportunity to meet with young Rwandan graduates, young entrepreneurs and captains of industry with whom they discussed national and regional business environment.
Kagame noted that, going forward, leaders have to sustain the kind of politics, and activities that ensure Rwandans value one another.
On challenges hindering Africa’s transformation, President Kagame, who is also the current chairperson of the African Union, said that Africans must stop looking down on themselves to the extent looking to donors for what they have at disposal in their own backyard.
He added that it is important for Africans to believe in their ability to think and turn their abundant resources into opportunities that can transform their communities.
“In Africa we tend to lower our standards. In some cases Africans ask to be given what they already possess. Some ask for others to spend on them when they have the resources to spend on themselves. It is an issue of mindset shift,” Kagame said.
“What is lacking is being able to say, we have all the means and the intellectual ability to think. There is no continent with more resources than ours. The question is what is missing to produce what we need, to take ourselves to the level where we need to be,” Kagame added.
The YPO delegation also visited various tourist attractions across the country, including Lake Kivu, mountain gorillas, and Nyungwe Forest National Park. They also visited Zipline Drone Aerodrome in Muhanga District.
YPO members have been coming to Rwanda and involved in Rwanda — mainly through investments for about 20 years now.
YPO Africa Great Lakes Chapter has 36 members drawn from its target market of Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, eastern DR Congo and South Sudan, including a number of overseas members who have a specific interest in the region. The organisation is headed by Emery Rubagenga from Rwanda.
One of its key objectives is to enhance investment and trade within and amongst the target countries as well as connecting local business people to the global reach of YPO.