Innovation and technology, as well as research and development, have been highlighted as critical components to shaping the future of Rwanda and position the country in facing unpredictable global challenges.
This was stressed by different experts at the on-going National Congress of the Rwanda Patriotic Front taking place at its headquarters in Rusororo, Gasabo District.
The second day of the RPF Congress was chaired by the RPF chairman Paul Kagame and was also attended by First Lady Jeannette Kagame.
The day began with a panel focused on global challenges that featured Donald Kaberuka, 7th President of ADB and Member of AU Reform Team; Louise Mushikiwabo, Foreign Affairs Minister; Francis Gatare, CEO Rwanda Mining Board; and Dr Clet Niyikiza, Founder, President & CEO of US-based LEAF Pharmaceuticals
Dr Niyikiza said that countries that will survive global competitiveness are those that will invest heavily in innovation and technology.
He emphasised the importance of investing in the youth and instilling in them the etiquettes of hard work.
“To be able to navigate the unpredictable global challenges, we must instill in our children the culture of thinking outside the box, innovating and having strategies in place to protect that innovation,” he said, adding that protection of patent rights must be reinforced.
Mushikiwabo said the world is facing a series of challenges including insecurity, migration and low domestic popularity of elected leaders.
“Those that we call powerful countries have and continue to experience challenges and all kinds of conflicts, but they still want to dictate how other countries should live,” she said.
“We must ask ourselves how Rwanda should navigate the unpredictability of the current global challenges.”
Mushikiwabo added that all that the country aspires to do can be achieved through building quality and striving for excellence.
“The key to positioning Rwanda will be combining the values that the country stands for and investing in knowledge,” she noted.
Dr Kaberuka said that, despite all the problems that the world is currently facing, innovation and technology can result in Rwanda bypassing some of the biggest challenges.
“Looking at where the world is, it is easier to tell that countries that have placed focus on innovation, science and technology have a competitive edge,” he said, adding that it is equally important for the country to invest in identifying and promoting talent.
Gatare, said tapping into the potential of the young people would enable the country to achieve rapid and sustainable development.
“Natural resources will never be enough to build sustainable development of countries. In Rwanda, the largest resource we should rely on is the young people,” he said.
The second day of the National Congress convened over two thousand RPF members, as well as party members and delegates from other parts of the region.
The panelists all highlighted that Rwanda should work closely with other African nations as there is no country that that can survive on its own.
Don’t seek “approval”
Reacting to a question from the audience on what the young generation can do to embrace the success-against-all-odds attitude, President Kagame said that what is important is getting the priorities right and not to be shy to do what they think is right.
“We should not be shy to do what is in our interest. As long as we have looked into it and its implications and have internal consensus. We cannot look for approval from anywhere else,” said Kagame.
Giving an example, Kagame said that after the liberation of the country, they were told by so-called experts on governance that Rwanda was and would remain a failed state even with the efforts by the government of the day to rebuild.
“When they were proven wrong, they changed the narrative that we would be a failed state in the distant future,” said Kagame.
The congress will be concluded today with celebrations in the evening of RPF 30th Anniversary.