President Paul Kagame just concluded a two-day State visit in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum. On the second day of his visit, President Kagame gave an address to students at the International University of Africa in Sudan.
I am pleased to visit the International University of Africa and have this opportunity to speak with you today. I would like to thank the Vice Chancellor for the kind invitation.
Our visit to Khartoum is aimed at strengthening the friendship between Rwanda and Sudan, and advancing cooperation on our continent.
The need to work together as Africans has always been pressing, and we now have more reason than ever to reinforce our solidarity.
Our continent is young, dynamic, and growing fast. Africa already plays an active and positive role in global affairs.
The solutions for our biggest challenges are right here, in Africa. They always have been, only that we were conditioned, and sometimes forced, to rely on others with their own interests.
Your generation has everything it takes to make our continent what it should be.
It is no small matter that the students in this university come from close to 80 different countries, most of them African. You represent a wealth of ideas and perspectives, and you have a critical role to play in building a better continent.
Allow me to suggest three pillars on which we can focus together.
First, special efforts must be directed in managing our diversity, and deepening national cohesion and consensus. This means always striving to nurture a good and productive politics, in keeping with our respective situations and historical contexts.
Africa’s diversity should be seen as a source of vitality and dynamism. It is up to each one of us to contribute to this African character, one that is confident, at peace with itself, and open to partnership with the wider world.
Ultimately, we should be responsible for our own security and well-being. No one will hand these to us, for free.
Second, we must accelerate African integration, both economic and political.
Africa’s tremendous resources and opportunities have benefitted others for far too long. One way to also make them work for us, is to stay united and collaborate closely on the things that have the most impact on the lives of our people.
Trade and investment is a primary example, which is why implementing the Continental Free Trade Area is so important. It should not be harder to do business within Africa, than it is, between Africa and other parts of the world. That is a recipe for exploitation and poor terms of trade.
Solidarity gives us the means to tackle these challenges more effectively, rather than as individual countries with less leverage.
The ongoing institutional reform of the African Union aims to make our continental organisation more focused, effective, and financially sustainable.
This is critically important, for Africa’s future.
I am happy to note, that a good number of countries, including Sudan and Rwanda, have already begun to implement the new 0.2 per cent levy on eligible imports to finance African Union programmes.
This measure is designed to make the African Union less dependent on external partners, and more attuned to the interests and priorities that Africa has defined for itself.
A better organised African Union will allow for more mutually beneficial partnerships between Africa and other parts of the world.
The third pillar, which really builds on the first two, is that we must do the right things to seize the opportunities presented by globalisation.
This means investing in the capacities of our people, especially our youth, through education and information technology, so that Africans compete effectively in the knowledge industries that drive prosperity.
Acquiring a mindset for success and ownership doesn’t require money, but it is the most important condition for transforming our continent.
We already have the means and ability to do so, right here in Africa, and it is our responsibility.
We must maintain a sense of urgency. Everything is in place, and so we cannot allow time to work against us. Our people have already been waiting for too long.
As university students, you are already on a path to leadership and useful service in your respective communities. I call on you to use your talents, to create opportunity and well-being for others.
We count on the young people of Africa to build a dignified and prosperous future, for everyone on our continent.
I wish to thank you all for your kind attention, and hopefully we have a little more time for some interaction.