President Paul Kagame yesterday met with the Brussels Chapter of Young Presidents Organisation (YPO) during a meeting in the Belgian capital Brussels, where he spoke on the different lessons learnt from Rwanda’s history.
The event was attended by leaders in the Belgian private sector from diverse sectors including finance, manufacturing and aviation.
The lessons from Rwanda’s past, he told the executives, form the bedrock on which the country’s transformation story is built.
During the meeting, Kagame emphasised the role of the private sector in nation building, saying that there is not much governments can achieve on their own, in the area of development, without the private sector.
He said Rwanda has had a tragic and complex past but emerging from this has been a different story altogether, and this, he said, required a combination of factors.
“It has been due to politics, governance, policies but also to actual investments made by people in different businesses that have had, in many ways, an impact on our population,” President Kagame said.
He said that the alternative of not engaging the private sector is for the population to entirely depend on government to provide everything, which, he said, is not sustainable.
The President recollected the journey Rwanda went through in the aftermath of the Genocide against the Tutsi adding that although Rwanda welcomed external support, it was essential for the nation to look for solutions to reconstruction inwards.
He highlighted the three guiding principles that he said have been the light shining the country’s path and these are; being accountable to one another, unity, and thinking big in order to believe that the nation was capable of transformation.
“The hard lessons learned of the past have helped people internalise this message: we have been down but we are not out,” Kagame said.
“The message was clear to our people: we have to reconcile our people, create a secure environment and we have to work. There is no shortcut. We have the land, we have the rain, we have the brain, there is no reason we can’t produce,” Kagame added, referring to the efforts the nation made to end reliance on food aid and achieve food security.