THE PRESIDENT’S SPEECH - It is my great pleasure to welcome you, President Bush, Mrs Laura Bush, and your distinguished delegation to Rwanda.
We thank you very much for your visit, your friendship and your support – these have made a substantive difference to many lives in our country.
The Bilateral Investment Treaty that we have just signed is further testimony to your commitment and the good will of the American people.
Mr. President, Your visit is a reflection that the United States and Rwanda have shared values.
We believe in investing in our people. We share a commitment to expanding our people’s economic and democratic aspirations.
We believe in strong and effective institutions, accountable to our respective citizens.
But as is well appreciated, different countries begin their democratic and development agenda from different circumstances. You saw for yourself the results of decades of bad politics and bad leadership when you visited the genocide memorial at Gisozi this morning.
The country you are visiting today was vastly different fourteen years ago, when the very survival of Rwanda as a nation was in question.
But the Rwandan people refused to give up hope – we have instead embarked on the task of healing, reconstruction and development.
The result of these efforts may be illustrated by our modest achievements in such areas as education, health, and the general improvement towards sustainable economic growth.
Rwandans, and more especially our youth, have hope in a better future. Primary school enrollment has risen to about ninety six percent spurred by tuition-free education.
In our concerted effort to invest in our people, we have extended universal education to the first three years of secondary education – and we intend to do more through the entire value chain of training.
In the field of health, immunization coverage has risen to ninety five percent. Thanks to American support and partnership, Thousands of Rwandan children and mothers are alive and have hope because of the PEPFAR program.
Malaria has almost been eliminated in our country – due in large part to the President’s Malaria Initiative.
On the economic front, today’s agreement will certainly deepen our economic collaboration.
Mr. President, we share a deep commitment to Democracy and good governance.
In this respect, we in Rwanda believe strongly in power sharing and consensus building as a cornerstone of our political dispensation.
This perspective has been made the centerpiece of our constitution – informed by our particular history and circumstances that disenfranchised communities and political expressions, often leading to calamities.
We know that governance has both universal and home-grown features to allow for greater relevance. We believe we are making progress towards a balance between these imperatives.
The significance of your Administration’s record is illustrated by your strong leadership in many fields including health, conflict resolution, promotion of investment and trade, and your insistence that we Africans take ownership of our own development challenges and processes. Permit me to thank you once again for the attention you paid our continent and our country.
It may be stated that you have raised the bar of American-African relations – a level which the next President of the United States should not lower.
We are very happy and honored to have you here, Mr President and Mrs Laura Bush here; this is the second time to Rwanda for the First Lady.
I thank you for the trust and confidence you have placed in our country. I thank you for your kind attention