KIGALI - President Paul Kagame has said that the country’s strategic investment in Information Communication and Technology (ICT) is aimed at accelerating socio-economic development.
Appearing on Youtube Worldview interview with South Africa blogger Khaya Dlanga, President Kagame said that Rwanda and other developing countries stand a greater chance of leapfrogging stages of development using the already invented technologies.
During the 41-minute interview available online, President Kagame pointed out that the situation would have been much different if developing countries invented new technologies.
The Head of State, who became the first African leader to appear on Youtube Worldview said that new technologies present ample opportunities, mainly in supporting entrepreneurship, innovation, creativity and by being businesses in themselves.
“For Rwanda, we are using not only these technologies but the best way we can use them is to first of all make them accessible to our people to use them, and affordable and then we will build from there,” President Kagame said.
“Information technology is very critical. It informs our people, it gives them enormous amounts of information and ways and therefore means to do things but also they can communicate and exchange views and opportunities.”
President Kagame said that ICT would enable the country accelerate the development process in governance, economic development among others.
He said that the government had resolved to empower its young persons to become drivers of change by heavily investing in areas that make them more innovative and skilled, such as education and ICT.
The Head of State observed that while the country was still battling poverty, it is evident that there is less poverty compared to 10 years ago.
He said that this stemmed from sacrifices, commitments and investment the government has made over the last 10 years, citing agriculture and education.
In response to a question on the welfare of university students, President Kagame said that even those universities where students are complaining never existed which is a positive in itself because, today, thousands of students can access university education.
“We have thousands of students joining university today, we have thousands more graduating and finding jobs, there might be those that struggle to find jobs but we are also investing in the development of our private sector so that jobs can be found,” he said.
He noted that the government is investing in skills development and technical training to enable people become job creators and not seekers.
During the interview, President Kagame touched on several issues particularly the situation on the continent blaming it on bad leadership and bad politics.
Referring to Rwanda’s case, President Kagame said that the country learnt its lesson from past leadership whose politics divided people along ethnic lines, observing that today Rwandans perceive themselves as one, which should be the case elsewhere.
“The same should be for other countries, people should know that they are one country, one nation and that after all, they can harness the diversity for a common good,” he said.
The President said that the diversity entails people from different backgrounds to put on the table different aspects for the benefit of the nation.
“With that kind of mindset, you have every reason to believe that a country can be united as we are trying to achieve here in Rwanda and we are seeing it working,” Kagame said.
He noted that it is up to the African people to learn from the past, by asking themselves how long the continent would continue to suffer many years after independence.
“For example what does it take to understand that corruption is bad and therefore deal with? Do we need any more lessons on poverty and how it affects families, society and nations and poverty deprives people of their dignity and lives of many are lost?” he pondered.
He noted that these are lessons that should challenge leaders to do things differently and to achieve results.
“At any stage, for every generation, lessons should be learnt from our past and people should seek to do better,” President Kagame said.
“They should seek to challenge themselves and they should seek to not look at themselves as individuals but rather what they can bring to whatever is being done for the common good of our societies and nations,”
He said that young people need to grow up learning these lessons to shape their attitudes and behaviours in order to deal with such problems.