KIGALI - Former British premier Tony Blair yesterday pledged to help Rwanda achieve her vision for the future. He was speaking at Village Urugwiro on his first visit to the country since becoming an advisor to President Paul Kagame. “There is a tremendous vision to be realized and it would be great to help,” Blair said. “Anything I can do to help the process of development would be an honour and privilege.” Acknowledging that Rwanda now has the economic, social and political stability to move forward, Blair explained that “the question that remains is how”.
He said: “The vision that has been set out by the Government is the right vision and it’s very clear. The question is how do we build the capability to make that happen? The vision is one thing; making it happen is another.”
“That’s where we can work together,” he added.
Blair spoke of the unique nature of the partnership he has with the Government of Rwanda and President Kagame for who he has “admiration and respect.”
Having, in the ex-prime minister’s words, “sat on the side that makes decisions,” he is in a position to offer strategic advice on how to translate the vision into reality. As a former leader he is able to find ways of making sure the capability is there to move Rwanda forward, Blair explained.
Lauding Rwanda’s achievements to date, particularly in the education sector, Blair said it was time to take them to the next stage.
He spoke of his “desire here to take what has already happened to a bigger, better, higher level.”
He stressed in particular the importance of private sector development.
President Kagame thanked Blair who is also the international Middle East peace envoy, for taking time amidst his many other engagements to render support to Rwanda.
“Tony brings a lot of experience and capability and connections he has internationally,” Kagame said.
Last month Blair, who was UK premier from 1997-2007, offered to serve as a voluntary advisor to the Government of Rwanda.
During his visit, Blair has recommended that a new government ministry in charge of Cabinet affairs be created.