President Paul Kagame has received the MEDays Grand Prix from the Amadeus Institute in Morocco, in recognition for his role in promoting democratic and peace values in Rwanda and the globe.
The President received the award at MEDays forum in Tangier city, Morocco on Wednesday.
MEDays Grand Prix is given to a political or civil society personality who is an international icon of democratic and peace values in the world.
President Kagame noted that the award from the Amadeus Institute was especially meaningful to him personally, as well as the people of Rwanda;
“By recognising the universal values at the heart of our journey of liberation and renewal, you have honoured the Rwandan people’s struggle and resilience. For that, I sincerely thank you,” the President said in a speech.
He, however, pointed out that Rwanda should not only be remembered for the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi but its recovery process from the tragedy.
According to the President, peace is not only the starting point for growth and development.
True peace, he said, is above all a mindset - it is a condition produced, when citizens are taken seriously as individuals, mobilised towards good politics, and fully participate in governance.
He outlined preconditions on which Rwanda’s economic and social progress rests: safety and security, accountable, inclusive and democratic governance.
These principles have been the basis, he said, not only for recovering our dignity as a nation, but also for making meaningful contributions as a productive member of the international community.
Noting that together more can be done, the president decried persistent moral segregation-in the very structures intended to bring people together- which he said is a key obstacle to more effective global cooperation.
Kagame wondered why the right of poorer or darker countries, to chart own course is constantly questioned, adding that the quality of a system or wisdom should not be the monopoly of any single country.
“Judgement is passed on the choices we make, but without serious analysis of the realities and/or context on the ground, much less consideration of the views of the citizens most concerned,” he said.
On recent crises related to public health, migration, and extremism, Kagame observed that there has not been necessarily adequate or coordinated world response which creates uncertainty and deep pessimism about the future.
“But we can choose instead to work together, to build a fairer and more sustainable global order. History has conditioned us to relate to each other, on the basis of implicit moral hierarchies. But overcoming this legacy, need not start with a change of heart, but rather a recognition of our converging legitimate interests,” he said.
He described good order as chief among the shared interests, stressing that promoting disorder can never be a strategy for positive change, even when ‘it has become almost routine.’
If the South has one message to convey to the North, according to Kagame, it should be that our interests lie in working with each other, not against each other.
Let us seek solutions, through consensus and dialogue, he said, “No one is stopping us from taking the lead in finding common ground.”
The president underscored the importance of the South South Cooperation towards the continent’s success.
“So, when trade or migration barriers are raised against developing countries, let’s not respond in kind but instead lower the barriers amongst ourselves even further,”
President Kagame paid tribute to Morocco as a country with its own story as a part of Africa, not merely in terms of geography but much more importantly, intertwined lives and extensive shared experience.
He recognised Morocco’s increasing engagement around Africa and invited Moroccan investors and business people to do business in Rwanda adding that Moroccans,as the rest of Africans,are able to travel to Rwanda without a visa.
The MEDays forum is a platform for dialogue, consultation, with meetings dedicated to the analysis of the economy and the creation of business opportunities.
Four days of debates feature topical geopolitical, economic, social, environmental and cultural issues directly related to key challenges in the South.
High-level speakers include Heads of State, government representatives, political leaders, businessmen, entrepreneurs and CEO’s, representatives from international and intergovernmental organisations, academic experts and representatives from civil society.