PHOTOS: Seize every opportunity, Kagame tells the youth

President Paul Kagame has urged Rwandan youth to maintain a culture of learning and humility. Kagame was speaking at opening of the YouthConnekt Convention 2017, which attracted over 3,000 youths from different parts of the country and Diaspora, at Petit Stade in Remera, Gasabo District, yesterday.
President Kagame addresses the youth at the YouthConnekt Convention 2017 at Petit Stade in Remera, Kigali ,yesterday. Village Urugwiro.
President Kagame addresses the youth at the YouthConnekt Convention 2017 at Petit Stade in Remera, Kigali ,yesterday. Village Urugwiro.

President Paul Kagame has urged Rwandan youth to maintain a culture of learning and humility.

Kagame was speaking at opening of the YouthConnekt Convention 2017, which attracted over 3,000 youths from different parts of the country and Diaspora, at Petit Stade in Remera, Gasabo District, yesterday.

“You must dare to constantly learn, and have humility to accept criticism as a means of improving yourselves. Those who criticise you help you learn, and in the process of criticism you eventually get a solution,” he told participants.

“As youth you have to seek knowledge, don’t reach a point where you feel like you are done with learning, your thirst for knowledge should be constant. Learning is a lifelong endeavour,” he added.

Kagame said that young people should strive to be the best they can be and not simply feel entitled. “Being young is not enough but it is a great opportunity. Being young does not mean anything until you invest in yourself with what will be useful to you, your family and your country.”

“Do not take anything for granted. When an opportunity is lost, it can never be regained,” the President added. He also emphasised that young people should work hard, adding that for as much as learning is important, discipline and values is what would drive them ahead.

“Values and how we express ourselves in those values, as well as how we manage ourselves in those processes is what matters most,” Kagame said.


Some 3000 youths from around the country and abroad are attending the YouthConnekt Convention in the capital Kigali. The meeting has traditionally opened around the same time as the National Dialogue Council (Umushyikirano), which gets underway in Kigali today. Village Urugwiro.

The sixth edition of YouthConnekt Convention is running under the theme; ‘Youth at the Centre of Transformation.’ It brought together youth entrepreneurs, more than 250 Diaspora youth representatives, representatives of youth groups from different districts across the country, as well as delegates from over 11 countries.

‘Learn by connecting’

The President challenged the youth gathered in Kigali to learn by connecting with each other, not just as Rwandans but as Africans, and that they must strive to get a seat at the ‘high table’.

He reminded the youth that the problems Rwanda faces are somewhat similar to the problems that other countries in Africa have. If Rwanda decides to solve her own problems only, he said, it may not help much.

“We should, therefore, connect to solve the problems that we face as a continent. Rwanda is not an island. Connecting with other African countries is the key to addressing the challenges facing the youth,” he said.

“You are as good as your peers from other countries. Do not take anything for granted. It is up to us to work to be where we want to be and claim Africa’s seat at the high table,” Kagame added.

According to Rosemary Mbabazi, the Youth minister, the event attracted delegates from Sierra Leone, Republic of Congo, Arab Republic of Egypt; UN representatives, including those from Nigeria, DR Congo, Rwanda, Chad, Zambia, Sudan, Senegal, as well as African Union (AU) representatives.

The YouthConnekt Convention is an annual event that serves as a platform that brings together youth to deliberate on critical issues they face, such as unemployment, as well as share experiences. It is part of the YouthConnekt Initiative that was launched in Kigali years back before it was recently scaled up to other African countries.

The minister said that the Steering Committee members of YouthConnekt Africa are currently in the country to discuss how to enhance the welfare of the youth and help unlock their potential.

“Them being here is a demonstration of the collaboration being fostered among Africans,” she noted.


Sports and Culture minister Julienne Uwacu (left) speaks to the youth, along with Edouard Bamporiki, the Executive Secretary of the National Itorero Commission, which imparts Rwandan values and conducts civic education among the youth. Village Urugwiro.


President Kagame urged the youth to always be open to learning and embrace humility. Village Urugwiro.


The YouthConnekt Convention takes place annually and attracts delegates from across Rwanda and beyond. Village Urugwiro.


Kagame fields questions at the youth summit in Remera, Kigali yesterday. Village Urugwiro.


A group of youths perform at the YouthConnect Convention 2017 yesterday. Village Urugwiro.


Youth representatives from across the country and Rwandan communities abroad are attending this year’s YouthConneckt Convention edition, which opened Sunday. Village Urugwiro.


President Kagame in a group photo with members of the Steering Committee for YouthConnekt Africa and other officials at Petit Stade in Remera yesterday.  The annual YouthConnekt Convention takes place under the framework of the YouthConnect Africa Initiative, which is now active across Africa. Village Urugwiro.


A delegate speaks at the YouthConnekt Convention in Kigali yesterday. Village Urugwiro.


The YouthConnekt Convention attracted participants from several African countries and UN diplomats. Village Urugwiro.


A delegate speaks at the event in Kigali yesterday. Village Urugwiro.


 A delegate dances at the event, which has traditionally taken place in December at the same time as the Umushyikirano. The latter, which attracts participants from across the country and other parts of the world to discuss issues of national interest, opens today at the Kigali Convention Centre. Village Urugwiro.

Yesterday’s event also featured presentations from different leaders, including the Inspector General of Police, Emmanuel Gasana, who tipped the youth on sustaining security and the effects of drug abuse, as well as the value of self-reliance in building the country.

During an interactive session with Kagame, the youth asked the Head of State to task leaders to increase reach and scope of youth friendly centres, ease the process of accessing funds from Business Development Fund (BDF), and extend vocational and training education to lower levels of education, among other things.

The youth will today participate in Umushyikirano (the National Dialogue Council) via video conferencing, where they will share their views with the other participants gathered at the Kigali Convention Centre.

Aline Mpinganzima, one of the participants at youth event yesterday, said that the gathering was important as it helps them chart ways through which they can contribute to the transformation and development of the country.

Jean de Dieu Gasana, a youth entrepreneur whose company, Gisagara Youth Innovation Centre, processes hides and skins, said that platforms like YouthConnekt Convention have helped the Rwandan youth change their mindset.

“Today, I have a company that employs about 58 people, including 32 women, and promotes Made-in-Rwanda products. This is due to platforms like YouthConnekt and the leadership of our country,” he said.


Officials from different countries attended the opening of this year’s YouthConnekt Convention. At the forum, the youth discuss issues related to national development and how best the youth can take part in the country’s transformation effort.  Village Urugwiro.


Youth minister Rosemary Mbabazi addresses the forum in Kigali yesterday. In October, President Kagame reinstated the Ministry of Youth and appointed Mbabazi at its helm. Village Urugwiro.


Government leaders and other officials attended the opening of the three-day forum in Kigali yesterday. Village Urugwiro.


President Kagame has put the youth at the heart of his government programmes over the years. Village Urugwiro.


The annual gathering attracts youth delegates from all corners of Rwanda and among the country’s Diaspora communities. Village Urugwiro.


A youth delegate makes a contribution at the event at Petit Stade in Remera, Kigali yesterday. Village Urugwiro.


The youth at the annual event deliberate matters of national development and their rightful role normally over a period of three days. Village Urugwiro.


Delegates at the YouthConnekt Convention will also participate via video link in the annual National Dialogue Council, better known as Umushyikirano, which opens today at the Kigali Convention Centre in Kimihurura. Village Urugwiro.


A participant speaks at the youth gathering in Kigali yesterday. Village Urugwiro.


The YouthConnekt Convention is an annual gathering of youths drawn from all parts of Rwanda and among Rwandan communities abroad. The summit, the brain child of the YouthConnekt Africa Initiative, discusses avenues to ensure youth participation in development matters. Village Urugwiro.


Rwandan youth have been urged to be active participants in development programmes. Village Urugwiro.


A female delegate makes an intervention on the first day of the summit in Remera, Kigali yesterday. Village Urugwiro.


The youth delegates during a morale-boosting session on Day I of the summit in Kigali yesterday. As with previous editions, participants at the YouthConnekt Convention 2017 will have a chance to participate in the televised annual National Dialogue Council (Umushyikirano), which opens in Kigali today. Village Urugwiro.


Officials from different parts of Africa, including UN diplomats, attended the opening of the YouthConnekt Convention 2017 edition. Village Urugwiro.


YouthConnekt Convention is one of the flagship programmes of the YouthConnect Africa Initiative, which was launched in Kigali several years back and has since been rolled out across Africa. The initiative is a platform through which stakeholders discuss key issues affecting the youth, including unemployment, access to finance, entrepreneurial skills, among others. Village Urugwiro.


The event is seen as a key platform through which young Rwandans express themselves and voice out matters close to their hearts. Village Urugwiro.  


A participant poses a question on the first day of the youth forum in Kigali yesterday. Village Urugwiro.



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