The United States Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Susan E. Rice has hailed Rwanda’s remarkable progress, just over 17 years after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
She made the remarks yesterday while addressing a gathering of senior government officials, students and faculty members at Kigali Institute of Science and Technology (KIST).
“I came to Rwanda to bear witness to the remarkable progress the country has made against all odds; as it holds its own tragic place in the 20th century,” she said.
“Rwanda did not suffer from so-called “ancient hatreds.” It suffered from modern demagogues: from the ex-FAR, the Interahamwe, Radio Mille Collines. It suffered from those who were willing to kill in the name of difference, from those who saw division and death as the path to power”
Rice stated that travelling across the African continent and comparing other countries with Rwanda, you find the country different, in terms of cleanliness, and bustling with a purpose of commitment by the people to move forward and leave the past behind.
“Rwanda has made exceptional remarkable progress, the development is extraordinary.”
“To us Americans, what you have achieved in 17 years is truly impressive, it gives us hope and a lesson to all post conflict countries what can be achieved, with effective policies,” she asserted.
The US envoy advised that countries like South Sudan, Liberia, Haiti and many others should do what it takes to borrow a leaf from Rwanda.
“I managed to come here several times after the Genocide but each time the progress is immeasurable,” said Rice who visited the country, in December 1994, right after the Genocide.
Responding to a question regarding what kind of democracy she would prescribe for a post-genocide society like Rwanda, Ambassador Rice said; “I am fully aware that each country’s political development happens on its own terms, am not here to preach, simply saying that as Rwanda grows and progresses, political development should keep pace.”
Rice went on to commend Gacaca courts for bringing unity and reconciliation among Rwandans.
She said that Rwanda’s deliberate engagement in promoting economic governance is translating into tangible results.
“Balancing all the factors of economic development is never easy in economic governance, no government today can claim to be getting it exactly right when it comes to economic governance and performance; still, Rwanda is making striking progress,” she added.
“I am grateful to witness your extraordinary progress. And, I am proud to affirm that the United States will continue to stand with you, in friendship and partnership.”
Rice commended the country for the promotion of gender policies where women have been mainstreamed in leadership positions especially in parliament.
She hailed the country for playing a great role in peace keeping missions abroad, saying that Rwanda has paid the ultimate price on these missions, by losing its sons.
“I want to extend my personal sympathies to the families of the Rwandan peace keepers who died in Darfur just few weeks ago,” she said.
Ambassador Rice also lauded the country’s performance in the recent World Bank doing business rankings, where Rwanda was ranked as the top business friendly destination in East Africa and third in Africa.