The New Times (Kigali)

29 November 2012

Rwanda: National Ownership Key to Infrastructure Devlopment ? Kagame

President Paul Kagame has urged African governments to ensure active participation of citizens in the development agenda.

Speaking at a diner on Wednesday at the ongoing Global Infrastructure Initiative conference in Istanbul, Turkey, the Head of State said no one can come from far away to do things nationals ought to be doing themselves.

Responding to questions about Rwanda's experience in infrastructure development, Kagame said the country had made strides in that area after pushing hard to get results. "In Rwanda, we work to own our development process," he said.

"What we have done is no miracle," President Kagame said.

"It can be done anywhere in Africa, maybe even better. It is about follow through, knowing what you want to do and actually doing it. The difference lies in building institutions, people and leaders who will make these institutions work. It is about implementing the policies identified by people."

Rwanda's position as a landlocked country and workforce capacity were cited among the challenges to bridging the remaining infrastructure gap.

Kagame told the audience that 17 per cent of Rwanda's budget goes to education, adding that efforts to build sustainable institutional capacity to adequately respond to the existing infrastructure gap were well on course.

He added that Rwanda continues to learn best practices from around the world.

The President, however, noted that one of the challenges stems from some partners "who want to help their own way and determine their own priorities."

Convened by McKinsey and Company and co-hosted by the Government of the Republic of Turkey, TIME Magazine and Albright Stonebridge Group, the conference will build on the expertise of the hundreds of leaders present to "rethink infrastructure" and provide recommendations on what will be required to lead to long-term infrastructure change.

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