KIGALI - In his relentless efforts to accelerate socioeconomic development in Rwanda, President Kagame pursues all avenues. It is in this context that his Presidential Advisory Council (PAC) met in Kigali on 5-6 April 2008. This was the second meeting of the PAC – following the meeting held in New York in September last year.
PAC is divided into several Taskforces, including Vision and Leadership, Economic Development Triggers, Human Capital Development, Partnerships and Coalition, and Competitiveness.
According to David Himbara of the Office of the President, each of these Taskforces is comprised of highly accomplished leaders from government, business and faith-based institutions drawn from different parts of the world, including the United States and Australia.
Himbara further indicated that this year’s PAC Meeting had two main objectives. Firstly, each taskforce presented its findings of the state of its field of responsibility in Rwanda, something they have been working on since last year’s meeting. Secondly, the taskforces presented their action plans for assisting the various Rwandan institutions to achieve better development outcomes.
When asked why national institutions cannot do this work on their own, Himbara responded that no country in the world today can afford to limit its learning efforts to domestic sources alone. The President of Rwanda, he said, has mobilized a pool of international talents in a variety of fields that provide quality and valuable advice. These advisors work with national institutions – to the benefit of all Rwandans as national institutions get exposed to good practices and lessons from other parts of the globe.
What are the profiles and background of some of these advisors, The New Times asked. They are Chief Executives of large corporations, they entrepreneurs who run successful businesses, they are world-renown church leaders, and they include people who run investment funds, and individuals who have advised many leaders and countries. These persons, Himbara said, are attracted to Rwanda by its leadership, the country’s vision and determination to improve the lives of its people. But above all, they are drawn to Rwanda by the country’s President, who they consider a role model of leadership that is presiding over a country that could have easily become a failed state in 1994 but keep matching forward with considerable achievements over the last fourteen years. They like his message of hope, and his stated determination to challenge Rwandans to reject a culture of donor dependency, or government handouts – and adoption of a new mindset of self-help, hard work, and the dignity that comes with that.
Joe Ritchie is an American corporate executive who Co-Chairs PAC with President Paul Kagame. Ritchie applauded Kagame saying his approach of prosperity creation is different from many leaders from this part of the world and beyond.
"He has a larger following of the private sector especially in the United States. He has created a strong bond with several CEOs of US companies and I have not seen this in any other president worldwide" he said.
Richie further stated that politicians often talk about Private Public Partnerships, but often they do not execute these strategies. Rwanda believes and practices this, which will pay dividends in the near future.
"I think in the next five or ten years, Rwanda will be seen as a true success story for Africa," Ritchie said, adding that people like himself who have developed a keen interest in Rwanda have done so because of their love for this country and the policies that are being implemented here.
When is the next meeting for the PAC? According to Himbara, it will convene in September to examine what each taskforce will have achieved, how PAC in general will have worked government institutions in pursuit of the ambitious targets adopted in the just concluded meeting in Kigali. New Times was promised to be kept up date with the developments of PAC.