Visiting former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, has challenged the nature of relationships that exist between donors and aid recipient countries.
Blair who is on a marathon working visit in Rwanda, said this on Wednesday at Urugwiro Village, in a meeting chaired by Finance Minister, James Musoni.
“There must be capacity built in the country to sustain itself. Development today is not about multiple negotiations between aid recipient executives and their donor counterparts talking big figures of funds,” he said.
He added that with the leadership commitment to make the vision of the country a reality, the government of Rwanda has the potential to “wave goodbye to donors”.
The meeting was also attended by ministers Linda Bihire of Infrastructure, Stanislas Kamanzi of Natural Resources and Agnes Kalibata the State Minister for Agriculture.
Also present was the Director of cabinet Major General Frank Mugambage. After stepping down as Britain’s Prime-Minister in 2007, Blair offered to serve as President Paul Kagame’s volunteer advisor. His visit is in this capacity.
The former Premier told the meeting that was discussing private sector development that it is important for able leaders to commit to making Rwanda’s ambitions a reality citing his tenure as Britain’s Prime Minister for 10 years as a good example for Rwandan leaders to follow.
He said: “For Rwanda, it’s a special moment. Even with the external crisis, Rwanda is trying to achieve her vision. President Kagame wants total unity and beyond that he has worked hard to develop all sectors of the economy. The terrible things that happened here have been resolved and the government is now trying to promote a stable successful country to make Rwandans develop.”
It is in this regard that Blair was “supporting the process of transforming that vision into reality.” Also discussed were plans to construct several roads linking Rwanda to Tanzania and the crucial seaport of Dar Salaam.
Blair who jetted into Rwanda this week after meeting Middle East leaders in his other capacity as envoy working on behalf of the US, Russia, the UN and the EU in the Middle East said that his office was engaged to work with the Rwandan government towards the practical implementation of Rwanda’s ambitions today.
Although he cautioned the leaders that even if his office could help the country, there should be sufficient Rwandans committed to working hard for their country. He added that if that happened, Rwanda could achieve her stated desire to wave goodbye to the donor community and would be among the countries creating their own future.
“Before becoming Prime Minister I never had any prior experience in government. My first job with government was also the top most. For years thinking and getting the vision right as Prime Minister, I learnt the need to have the right structure around me,” said Blair.