Members of the ruling party, Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF-Inkotanyi), on Saturday, May 1, agreed to put more effort into empowering local firms to make Made in Rwanda products more competitive not just on the local market, but also beyond borders. This is one of the resolutions of the extended National Executive Committee (NEC), the party’s top decision-making organ, at the end of their two-day meeting that took place at the party headquarters in Rusororo. The meeting, which was chaired by President Paul Kagame, also the party chairman, attracted over 650 cadres working in the public and private sectors, and civil society, among others. First Lady Jeannette Kagame also attended the meeting. Other participants included Prime Minister Edouard Ngirete and other senior government officials who are not RPF members, who attended as invited guests. Among the major items on the agenda was to conduct a mid-term review of the manifesto on which President Kagame, the then RPF presidential flagbearer, was elected in 2017 for a seven-year term ending in 2024. “Generally, members welcomed the progress made in the implementation of the manifesto and agreed to work unconventionally and use the minimum resources available to achieve better results,” reads in part one of the resolutions from the meeting. The members also agreed to put more effort into adding value to locally made products to ensure they increase both in quality and quantity to boost national export revenue and thereby bridge the balance of trade deficit. Party delegates also resolved to bolster the country’s health sector, such that more services that Rwandans have been travelling abroad to get can be locally obtained, with an overall view to tap into medical tourism. During a panel discussion on Friday, Clare Akamanzi, the CEO of Rwanda Development Board had mentioned that medical tourism was an emerging sector where there was a lot of potential. She said that currently, Africans spend over $6 billion annually on medical services beyond the continent. The two-day meeting discussed at length the country’s health sector beyond the response to the global pandemic Covid-19 and it emerged that among the challenges the country is still grappling with was the shortage of nurses. “Effort should be put in continued health infrastructure development, human resource development and increasing the number of nurses to match with the population increase,” another resolution reads. Strong foundation In his closing remarks, President Kagame used the analogy of a house to rally members to always look inwards for solutions to the problem the country faces, saying that this makes the country firm and resilient to any threats. “For things to move forward, you have to look inward. If you want to live in a house without being rained on, without fear that anyone will come and steal from you, you must build a strong house. “Rather than spending sleepless nights standing guard, build a strong house, on a solid foundation, surrounded by a solid fence to protect you and a strong roof. Build a house with a foundation strong enough that the wind cannot blow it away.” He challenged party members to get into the habit of expecting more with fewer resources and shun the habit of entertaining mediocrity just because that is how things are done elsewhere. “If you start to do things because that is how it is done elsewhere, that will not be fulfilling the values of the RPF,” he said. Other topics discussed by the cadres was the just-published Muse Report on the role of France in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi which they resolved to own and popularlise among all sections of the population.