President Kagame meets over 3000 youth
President Paul Kagame has on Wednesday met over 3,000 Rwandan youth from across the country and the diaspora at Intare Conference Arena in Rusororo Sector, Gasabo District.
The forum is part of the “Meet the President” series whereby the Head of State holds conversations with various categories of Rwandans.
The gathering aims to engage the young generation on national aspirations for the next 25 years inspired by the country’s Vision 2050 and encourage them to be self-driven to ensure sustainability and continuity for Rwanda’s socio-economic progress attained to date.
It also focuses on fostering an understanding of liberation as an intergenerational journey that is crucial to sustainably improve lives of Rwandans.
Held under the theme of “The Promise of a Generation”, the meeting is organised by the Ministry of Youth, as a way to consolidate values of unity and self-reliance among young Rwandans.
At the beginning of the conversation with the youth, President Kagame urged them to freely express themselves and also challenge themselves and learn from each other.
“Let’s challenge ourselves and each other,” Kagame urged the youth.
“There is no better place, there are no better people to have this conversation with, than here and with you. It is your choice to refuse to be stepped on and say ‘I am my own self’,” he told the youth.
President Kagame challenged them to always refuse to be dictated on what to do as Rwandans, rallying them to stand up for their rights and choose to do what they want to do and claim their spot in the world.
“As we work for development, as we work for our country to be secure, to be stable, to be free, to be really the best that we want to be and we are capable of being, you can’t wait for somebody else to come and do some of these things for you,” Kagame said.
“You can’t outsource certain things. You can’t outsource values, principles, hard work, all these are things you must face and do. When I say you, I mean me as well, so we…You must understand the world we live in, it is not very kind, it is very harsh. There is no one out there, who is thinking on your behalf about how to solve your challenges,” he added.
On recent claims by Financial Times that Rwanda manipulates data, the President said that: “I wish I could make any data to toe my line because my line, am convinced, is a good one. I will bet with anyone that there is actually nothing fake or fabricated or doctored about the progress we are making.”
The UK based newspaper on Tuesday wrongly claimed that Rwanda manipulates data to portray a positive outlook of its social economic progress.
The article came out a day after international agency, Standard and Poor’s, upgraded Rwanda’s credit rating from B to B+ on account of strong economic growth prospects, which are characterised by high investor conference in the economy.
There is such a thing as western propaganda, the President warned as he rallied the youth to partake in the fight against western stereotype on Africa.
“That is why I really want us to be together in this fight, because it is a fight for who we are and who we want to be. It is a fight about ourselves, about Rwandans, about Africans,” he said. “We have been downtrodden largely because of ourselves. Because we have not addressed some of the things that people build on to look down upon us.”
He added; “We are still far from where we want to be but surely we don’t want to be where other people want us to be,” he said. “If we don’t develop the mind-set that all these things we are trying to achieve are good for us, that we are not doing this because we want to impress anybody, then everything else we discussed, impressive as it was, will be wasted.”
Participants at the meeting include youth representatives under the National Youth Council, young professionals, young entrepreneurs, students from higher learning institutions, leaders of different youth organisations, Rwandan youth from the diaspora, as well as graduates of Indangamirwa civic education programme.