Inspire Africa, an NGO that brings together young entrepreneurs’ in East Africa, has named President Paul Kagame an icon for development in the region and an inspiration for the future poverty free generation.
Speaking to the media after visiting Gisozi Genocide Memorial yesterday, the chief executive of Inspire Africa, Nelson Tugume, noted that they decided to name Kagame the icon considering the tremendous reforms he has championed in Rwanda over the last 17 years.
“There is no doubt that out of all the leaders we have in the region, it is only President Kagame who has taken ICT, youth and women empowerment, business reforms as well as rural empowerment, as a priority and it is evident now,” he said.
Tugume is leading a 23-member delegation of young entrepreneurs from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and the host Rwanda, which is in the country to support their fellow young entrepreneurs to set up their own businesses through a business competition that will see the winner bag US$50,000.
He noted that many youth interviewed in the region during the business competition referred to President Kagame as their inspiration to take up entrepreneurship.
In areas of empowerment, President Kagame was awarded the Global Leadership Award in March 2003 by the Young Presidents' Organization (YPO) in recognition of his commitment and tireless work to address crises, to foster understanding, unity, and peace to benefit all people.
He also scooped “The Distinction of the Grand Cordon in the Most Venerable Order of the Knighthood of Pioneers” by Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf in March 2009, for his exemplary exceptional contribution and leadership in promoting women rights. While in June 2009, he received the Children's Champion Award by for UNICEF for Promoting Children's Rights.
Tugume noted that in order to close the leadership crisis that is looming in Africa, there is urgent need to have leaders to inspire the young generation and also build an economic and political platform for young people to take up from.
“We are having these crises in Africa because we lack leaders who are willing to invest in their people especially in key drivers of economy like ICT, education and agriculture,” he said, adding that for Africa to develop, there must be leaders who are able to invest in easing doing business to attract more investors and support upcoming entrepreneurs.
Tugume, who is a young entrepreneur himself, with a car dealership company, among other ventures, said that Rwanda is destined to attract more investments because of the current reforms.
“I have been to many countries in Africa but I have not seen where it takes only one hour to register a business and this is what we need so that our investments can make us profits.”
The Minister of Trade and Industry, Francois Kanimba, re-affirmed the government’s commitment to making the country the ideal investment destination.
“We are now investing in promoting exports, trying to see how we can add value to our exports and also attracting more investors and it is obvious that what we have done is succeeding”, the minister noted
Tugume urged young entrepreneurs and business people to always contribute to social development to build potential markets for their products and services.