Rwandan envoys to engage diaspora youth in development agenda

All Rwandan ambassadors gather in the ambassadors’ annual retreat at MINAFFET on March 13, 2019. / Emmanuel Kwizera

As Rwandan heads of diplomatic missions across the world wrap up a two-day retreat in Kigali today, they have been tasked to, among other things, empower and engage Rwandan youth who live in Diaspora to actively participate in the country’s development process.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Richard Sezibera, told reporters on Wednesday that the Ambassadors’ annual retreat also tackled in-house matters revolving around how Rwanda’s foreign mission can function more effectively and efficiently.

Among the areas discussed include better coordination, communication, and timely action, the Minister said.

“There are many programmes ongoing including Youth Connect, and others, that link the youth to Rwanda to come and see what their colleagues are doing in nation building,” Sezibera said.

Her explained: “So, we are discussing how we can be better organised even in the different countries where they are, how they can be better organised, how they can be kept abreast of developments in their country, and how can we tap into their skills.”

Diaspora youth councils mooted

Asked how, exactly, this is proposed to be done, the Minister noted that discussions were still underway. 

“One of the proposals is that we set up youth councils in different parts of the countries where the youth are located just like we have the youth council in Rwanda. Maybe it is possible. But each country is different and so, you have to customize how the youth are organised,” the Minister added.

“And so, that is the discussion we are having here. At the end of the discussion, we will have the way forward on this matter. What is obvious is that we need awareness that Rwandan youth living outside Rwanda should be part of the development process just as Rwanda youth living in Rwanda.”

Trade and investment, regional affairs and security, the upcoming 25th commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, and financial management issues in the country’s embassies were some of the issues on agenda in the closed meeting.

Sezibera said: “We are examining our plans of action for 2019-2020 and the Ambassadors will also receive briefings from different government departments.”

In trade and business, the minister said, they had an interaction with the Rwanda Development Board, the Ministry of Commerce as well as the Private Sector Federation to look at “how we can collectively contribute to Rwanda’s required increase in investments and exports.”

“We will also take some time to discuss in-house matters, to look at how we function better, more effectively and efficiently and how coordination, communication, timely action; as a result of the impetus we received from the national leaders retreat just at the end of last week.”