At least 200 delegates from African governments and different institutions met in Kigali on Friday for a high level symposium on democratisation that was held under the auspices of Meles Zenawi Foundation and African Development Bank.
The Meles Zenawi Foundation was established in memory of the former Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, who is credited for turning Ethiopia from a country ravaged by hunger and starvation, to the fastest growing country in Africa, currently.
Addressing the meeting, President Paul Kagame said that this was the time for African countries to stop being students and a place where experiments are made and lessons on democratization are taught with no graduation.
“African intellectuals, think tanks and others must be fearless in articulating our stories and our aspirations for the future…it is not about scoring debate points. It is about the reality that everyone’s well-being depends on working together,” said the President.
The symposium which is the first of its kind was inspired by Zenawi the late Ethiopian Prime Minister’s commitment to the state’s prominent role in building robust accountable institutions and facilitating rapid sustainable development, the symposium aims to foster rigorous intellectual debate on issues related to development.
The symposium featured a panel discussion held under the theme “The State and Africa’s Transformation” composed of Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn of Ethiopia, President Paul Kagame and Ghanaian Vice-President, Kwesi Amissah-Arthur.
Deliberations from the symposium will be submitted to the African Union, with the expectation that these will feed into the main AU development strategy, Agenda 2063.
The idea of the symposium was conceived by the AfDB and MZF as a platform for intense deliberations and deep analyses of development issues geared towards policy change.