Kigali — President Kagame opened the 10th National Dialogue with a reminder to those present of the importance of working together towards the development of Rwanda and well-being of all Rwandans. However, President Kagame added that dialogue needed to be expanded to include external actors whose actions affect the lives of Rwandans:
"We cannot come together to build our nation and have external actors decide our future for us...we must have a dialogue to achieve a common understanding that they cannot interfere in the decisions that Rwandans have made together"
President Kagame told the participants that this year's dialogue themed "Agaciro: Working for Self Reliance" is a call to all Rwandans to take part in the struggle against poverty, hunger, and disease to achieve development:
"Dignity and self reliance are not easy gains, the more we seek peace and self reliance, the more resistance we face from external actors who do not support our progress."President Kagame said. "In the morning, they teach us about human rights but they come back in the evening to take away your rights and tell you to do as they say."
Rather than blaming others for injustice, President Kagame challenged the audience as well as Africans around the continent to reflect on why they have allowed themselves to be used as tools at the disposal of others:
"The cost of accepting injustice is much higher than the cost of pushing back and refusing...we cannot be seen as people who accept injustice."
President Kagame's speech was followed by a report of the implementation of last year's resolutions by Prime Minster Pierre Damien Habamuremyi; and presentations on values of self reliance in Rwanda and EDPRS 2.
Local Government Minister James Musoni said that over the last five years, one million Rwandans had been lifted out of poverty helped along by homegrown solutions such as Girinka and Ubudehe. Following this presentation, Finance Minister John Rwagombwa shared data on current and projected Rwandan economy and pointed out that per capita GDP in Rwanda has tripled in the past ten years. He highlighted the innovation focus of the new EDPRS strategy which he said is key to achieving Vision 2020.
Following the presentations, participants from around the world joined the conversation at the event, sending over 6,000 questions through sms, facebook and twitter. Over 1000 youth gathered at Amahoro Basketball stadium followed discussions live on TV participated in the question sessions via video conference.
Today's National Dialogue was attended by over 900 participants including members of Cabinet and Parliament, local leaders, civil society, diplomats and Rwandans living abroad. The Prime Minister of Burkinafaso and his delegation that included three ministers were special guests at Umushyikirano this year.
The final day of the National Dialogue on Friday will include presentations on innovative financing mechanisms towards self-reliance, strategic skills development and youth employment.