Friends of Rwanda:
I would like to take this opportunity to wish a Happy and Prosperous New Year to all Rwandans wherever they are, all residents of Rwanda, friends of Rwanda, as well as all our partners in the development process.
This is a time to take stock of what we have achieved this past year. I would like to thank all Rwandans for the progress we have registered, much of which is visible and quantifiable. Some achievements , however are not quantifiable and cannot be given a monetary value.
For instance, how can we measure the dignity and respect that we have earned at the international level?
How can we count the advancement we have attained in developing a culture of working transparently and fighting graft?
We should take satisfaction that as we finish the year, our country is in good shape, including the economy, investment, international cooperation and other sectors of our country. We will continue to work together to solve the remaining challenges.
During 2009, we commemorated the 15th anniversary of the liberation of our country and the end of the genocide.
We are pleased that our country is enjoying peace and security. We have good relations with all our neighbours, and continue to foster friendly and productive relationships with all other countries, based on mutual respect.
In this forthcoming year ,and in the years to follow, we will continue to cooperate with other countries, especially in the areas of trade, education, technology, research and others, for the benefit of Rwandan people.
With regard to development activities in Rwanda, we should take satisfaction in the good performance of the agriculture sector.
This is exemplified by the fact that we achieved self-sufficiency in food production. And as we have clearly seen, farmers’ lives have improved, and we want to see this improve even further.
The fact that Rwanda was named best reformer in Doing Business will go a long way in boosting investment in our country.
We must therefore do all we can to ensure that this “number one” position is not only in name, but make use of the merit to improve the way we conduct business, develop our small and medium enterprises and our cooperatives.
In a successful and highly valuable national exercise, Rwandans came together to build schools for our children, and as a result we shall be able to increase the number of children in higher education through the new Nine-Year Basic Education programme.
This followed another commendable action of fundraising for the construction of homes for orphans of the genocide, in which Rwandans and others participated selflessly.
These two activities demonstrate that, with determination, Rwandans are capable of achieving anything they set their minds to.
It is also encouraging to note that this year, many Rwandans continued to join Mutuèlles de Santé and have understood the role of community health insurance in facilitating quick and easy access to healthcare.
This year, in many Sectors across our country, we began the process of concluding Gacaca courts. These courts enabled people to tell the truth with regard to what took place during the genocide, and as a result we have been able to obtain justice, unity and reconciliation.
In 2009 we were also able to bring together Rwandans of all walks of life into “Itorero”, where they had the opportunity to discuss our country’s history, culture, social cohesion, current problems and ways to solve them.
Itorero participants were instilled with the values that should characterize a morally upright Rwandan.
The Gacaca courts and Itorero are some of the traditions derived from our rich culture that we have succeeded in harnessing to provide solutions to our contemporary problems. We shall continue to support these activities and encourage both the young and old to embrace them.
With regard to good governance, we placed great emphasis on the fight against corruption and other vices that hamper development.
This is a struggle in which every Rwandan must take part, otherwise our leadership may lose its grounding and the whole country will be in disarray.
Friends of Rwanda:
In 2009, Rwanda joined the Commonwealth group of nations that comprises over fifty countries. We must take advantage of the opportunities that come with membership in the Commonwealth, as well as the East African Community we share with our neighbours, and other groupings we belong to, to stimulate the growth of our economy, especially during this period of global financial crisis.
I urge all Rwandans to work hard, especially those in the private sector. This is a large market where Rwandans should get actively involved in.
I call on you to continue to work hard during this New Year. We are on the right track, but we have a long way to go, we should not be complacent. If we continue to work together, diligently and productively, I have no doubt we will achieve whatever we wish for our families and our country.
Let me end by wishing you a happy and prosperous 2010, full of peace and prosperity.
May God bless you all.