President Paul Kagame has urged Rwandans to join hands and defeat the growing problem of drug abuse, which he described as a global epidemic.
He was yesterday speaking at the closure of the 15th National Dialogue Council (Umushyikirano) at Kigali Convention Centre.
“We cannot allow our youth to go to waste,” the President said, inviting all Rwandans to join in the effort.
Kagame said tackling the threat of drug abuse, especially among young people, would help ensure that the gains the country has made over the years are not eroded.
Observing that the global illegal drugs business is a multibillion dollar enterprise, the Head of State said Rwandans owe it to themselves and future generations to urgently and collectively tackle the vice.
Speaking on a panel at the Umushyikirano 2017 yesterday, the Minister for Youth, Rosemary Mbabazi, called drug abuse a life-threatening vice.
The panel, moderated by Gloria Mukamabano of RBA, focused on the role of youth in Rwanda’s development and included Edouard Bamporiki, Chairman of Itorero Commission, and Jaures Habineza, founder of Made in Rwanda Online.
With youth accounting for over 60% of the population, the conversation served as an opportunity to discuss concrete steps forward to ensure that Rwandan youth are able to fulfill their potential.
Minister Mbabazi called on the youth to be willing to take risks, build on available opportunities, and to think big.
Jaures Habineza shared the work of his company, which currently provides an e-market platform for Made-in-Rwanda products. Habineza urged the youth living abroad to put their skills to use to contribute to Rwanda’s transformation.
Focusing on the role of Rwandan values, Bamporiki described the importance of valuing Rwandan values and building a future founded on a society that is proud of its identity.
Closing the meeting, the Head of State reiterated that serving, respecting and listening to citizens, fighting corruption, using public resources effectively and treating every Rwandan equally, with particular focus on giving women and girls the respect they deserve, all constitute key principles that leaders should uphold to deliver results to citizens.
President’s message to Rwandan youth
Meanwhile, moments following the closure of the national dialogue, President Kagame took to twitter to urge Rwandans to work harder and help take the country to the next level.
Kagame, who delivered his State of the Nation address at the opening of the Umushyikirano on Monday, tweeted: Let’s not settle for ceremonies, let’s get to work. We know what needs to be done. Take full advantage of available Govt services. We will continue to expand and improve them, and uphold public integrity.
Describing the annual gathering as a success, Kagame said the event had served as a platform for “enriching discussions on values and mindset needed to speed up Rwanda’s development”
And, to the youth, the Head of State had this message: To the young people of #Rwanda, being young is not enough. You cannot afford to waste any opportunity. Do not let the fear of failure or taking risks stand in the way of who you can be. Claim your rightful place in the world, no one will hand it to you.”
On the last day of the Umushyikirano 2017, yesterday, participants discussed strategies to place the youth at the centre of the country’s transformation process.
Earlier, on Monday, the meeting deliberations revolved around the topics, “National Strategy for Transformation”, and “Values for Prosperity”.
Besides the more than 2000 delegates at the meeting, some 3000 youths who were since Sunday attending the annual YouthConneckt Convention in Remera, Kigali, took part in the deliberations at the Umushyikirano via video conferencing, as were ordinary citizens who gathered at four key locations across the country, namely Gatsibo, Nyaruguru, Musanze and Nyamasheke.
The Umushyikirano resolutions focused on key areas of education, health, economy and culture. In the education sector, the resolutions include improving the quality of education, increasing the number of professional schools and reducing drop-out rates. The meeting also resolved to increase skills and service of health professionals and to improve childhood nutrition. On the economy, the resolutions include increasing access to finances for investors in Made-in-Rwanda products, closing the gap between exports and imports of goods, reducing the price of access to electricity and increasing access throughout the country. On culture, the meeting committed to teaching Rwandan children the country’s values both in Rwanda and abroad.