President Paul Kagame has urged Rwandans to continue working hard to lift themselves from poverty. The President made the remarks during the 11th edition of Kwita Izina in Musanze where he was the Guest of Honor.
President Kagame speaking at the 11th Kwita Izina Ceremony. Source: Village Urugwiro/YouTube
President Kagame pointed to tourism as a key source of income that should benefit local communities and be part of Rwanda’s economic progress:
“Rwandans were not created to be poor. I don’t have to explain what being poor means. You know it because we have lived it. There is nothing pleasant you or anyone else has ever experienced in poverty. We must lift ourselves out of poverty, whatever it takes. Whatever it takes means having the strength and the determination to lift ourselves out of poverty.”
Kagame thanked public and private sector partners across Rwanda as well as from neighboring countries and beyond who have worked toward conserving Rwanda’s environment and ensuring the citizens are its primary beneficiary.
The 11th annual Kwita Izina was themed “Conserving now and for the future” and saw the naming of 24 baby gorillas, the highest number since the launch of Kwita Izina in 2005.
With 30,000 in attendance including 500 foreign guests representing 26 countries, this year’s ceremony also served as an opportunity to present six awards in honor of conservation efforts.
With a 26.3% increase in the number of gorillas between 2003 and 2010, Rwanda is now home to 302 gorillas which is close to 35% of the world’s population.
Since the launch of Kwita Izina in 2005, 192 gorillas have been named in a ceremony that brings together the community that plays an integral part in the protection of gorillas.
Notable guests who named gorillas this year included the MD of Best Western Plus Lusaka Grand Hotel, Dr. Hans J. Heuer, Manager of Phinda Reserve that donated lions to Akagera National Park, Simon Naylor, Pioneer of conservation work with mountain gorillas and Yale University Professor, Amy Vedder, World Wide Fund For Nature and Senior Conservation Advisor, Dr. Allan Karlsson, Senior Fellow, Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas, U.S. Department of State, Dr. Janaki Alavalapati, Rwandan Minister of Trade and Industry, Francois Kanimba, Rwandan singer, Jeanne Butera Knowless, Managing Director of Bralirwa, Jonathan Hall, Son of the founder of the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project in Rwanda, Frank Keesling, and the Founder and CEO of the African Leadership Group, Fred Swaniker and Isaac Fokuor.
The Chief Executive Officer of Rwanda Development Board, Francis Gatare thanked the local communities for their invaluable role in the protection and conservation of wildlife.
Six Rwandans were awarded with certificates for their role in conserving Rwanda’s biodiversity. Those awarded were Tarasin Nyiranizeyimana and Furaha Godfrey from the Eastern province, Agnes Nyiramanzi and Bandorayingwe from the Western Province, Marie Louise Mukeshimana and Jean Rwiyadaganza from the Northern Province.