News of Rwanda (Kigali)

12 September 2012

Rwanda: Kagame - 'Permanent Aid Can Make a Person Become Useless'

China offers "a new choice for African nations," says Mr Kagame. "The Chinese certainly have a different view than the West. They are what they are. They have clear objectives; they do not export their values together with assistance. They make decisions faster."

Appearing in the latest issue of the magazine, the President's comments come on the heels of a new investment deal with China and the establishment of sovereign fund that has raised some Rwf 15billion in two weeks. A visit to China this week by the President has yielded a $25m grant and numerous incentives for Rwandan exports to Chinese markets.

Answering in usually strong comments, the President says in comparison the west pretend to care more for Africans than the Africans themselves. "Some in the West think we are being fooled and they claim they are there to look after us, to warn us about the Chinese. I think they are more concerned with themselves," said Kagame.

But even with Chinese cash and investments pouring into Rwanda, Mr Kagame says the ultimate decision about the development of Africa remains with the Africans. With particular reference to Rwanda, Kagame said: "No nation, even the ones who supported the genocide, owes us a favor."

"I have said many times to our people, "Why should the taxpayers of another nation put food in our mouths and for how long?"..." said Kagame, also giving a rare insight into how his background has shaped his politics.

At the moment in Rwanda, Parliament has 56 percent female representation. Is that accidental, deliberate or politicking? President Kagame says women have always played a bigger role in Rwandan society.

"During the struggle to return to our country and to stop the genocide, women took very responsible positions in collecting information, fundraising, and even fighting," said the president.

"But we don't do these things because the world appreciates our gender equality policies. We do them because we could hardly fight for our freedom, and have women fight just as hard, and then deny them the rights to govern. We do it because we are working for development and prosperity, and leaving half our population out of this task just doesn't make sense."

On DRC Congo, where there is an ongoing international uproar over alleged Rwanda support to rebellions in the east of the country, President Kagame said "soon we will have long-lasting stability in our region."

"You know, the violent history of Congo began long before I was born," said Kagame. "It is a matter of public record that the royalty of Europe and the colonial powers decimated the people and stole their vast underground wealth for a century."

However, the President said Rwanda was committed to being part of the solution to pacify DRC.

"However, we are working closely with the government of DRC to ensure that this threat is removed completely. We have also noticed a fresh spirit of cooperation from the international community to focus on the root cause of conflict in the DRC, and I am confident that soon we will have long-lasting stability in our region. This will allow us to focus on economic development, which is what our people want."

Read full interview here: http://hir.harvard.edu/crafting-the-city/building-rwanda

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