The significance of Rwandans, having the ability and resources to take care of themselves without depending on aid, was a key point President Paul Kagame drove home as thousands of Rwandans living abroad marked the seventh edition of Rwanda Day yesterday in the Netherlands.
Highlighting the unity that characterizes Rwanda Day, President Kagame thanked all who attended and particularly adding that their presence was part of “the Rwandan spirit of working together to build our nation”.
“We are here to put our hands together to change the course of our nation's history and develop our country. The development of a nation is not based on its size but on its mindset, determination and work ethics,” Kagame added.
Listing internationally ranked achievements, including the reduction of maternal and child mortality, the gender parity in both the public and private sector and the achievement of food security for the first time in the history of Rwanda, President Kagame added that critics may argue about how far the Rwandan nation has come in the last 21 years, but facts continue to show that the truth cannot be hidden.
Urging Rwandans to take responsibility for defining their own future and shaping the life they deserve, President Kagame pointed to a lack of self-reliance as the root cause that has led Africa to lag behind other nations:
“Nations that made progress in last 50 years leaving Africa behind made progress because they chose to define their own path. It is easy to sit around and live off leftovers. But it means giving up your dignity and your freedom of choice. Africa is where it is because we chose to be defined by others and we waited for development to be delivered to us. The result you see today is because we became what they wanted us to be.”
“If we want to be a new Rwanda and change the course of history, we must be the ones to define our own future”, Kagame added.
Calling on youth to take on the responsibility of shaping their nation, President Kagame challenged youth to transform Rwanda for generations to come:
“Rwanda must be a nation that stands tall. We are on the path of recreating our nation. Youth must carry this legacy forward,” Kagame said.
Addressing those he described as making a living from undermining Rwanda’s progress, President Kagame reminded all Rwandans that the country remains open to all who wish to come home:
“Rwanda is no longer too small to deny anyone a home as it was once the case.”
The President also told the large gathering that no country has ever developed based on lies, or debate without productive work, he advised.
“Debate is not an end in itself, its purpose is to exchange ideas but it must form the basis of action.”
The seventh edition of Rwanda Day brought together over four thousand Rwandans and friends of Rwanda from across the globe.
Prior to the President’s address, the gathering hosted a panel on bridging generations which included Minister of Youth Jean-Philbert Nsengimana, Member of Parliament Edouard Bamporiki along with members of the Rwandan Diaspora from different parts of Europe, discussed the collective role that Rwandans living abroad and back home must play in order to ensure sustainable development.