The New Times (Kigali)

Rwanda: President Kagame Rallies Youth

President Paul Kagame has urged the youth to utilise their abilities and intellect to lead a decent life as their contribution to building the nation.

Kagame made the call at the closing ceremony of the Youth Connect Convention at Petit Stade in Kigali yesterday.

The ceremony that brought together over 3000 youth from across the country and Diaspora aimed at putting together their views on critical issues affecting them and their contribution to national development.

The Head of State told the youth to attach more value to their lives since they are the reflection of the future of Rwanda.

The future of the youth, he observed, is brighter than the present but they have to ensure that they take the right path to their destination if they want to live in a better Rwanda.

The President assured the youth that the government is more than ready to empower them to realise their full potential and have a bright future.

Kagame lectured the youth on the dangers of abusing drugs pointing out that they are blessed to be the leaders of Rwanda in the near future and that they should consider it a serious commitment.

The President said that a country ran by leadership that is under the influence of such substances will only collapse rather than develop.

He gave an example of passengers in a bus driven by a person who is under the influence of any substance, saying that lives of passengers in such a bus would be at a high risk.

He related it to Rwanda's ugly past before the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi saying that victims were innocent passengers led by leaders whose judgment could not be trusted.

In his remarks, the Head of State told the youth that Rwanda's future lies in their hands and it's upon them to decide how best they want to shape it.

Rwanda's tragic history should not be an obstacle for the youth to build a firm and prosperous nation, he said, adding it should instead be a lesson to avoid past mistakes.

President Kagame acknowledged that the youth face a number of challenges but noted that with hard work and passion they will overcome.

The Head of State observed that each and every human being has a talent and urged the youth not to let it go to waste.

The country, he pointed out, has put all required incentives to facilitate its young citizens realise their talents, mainly through education.

One of the youth that attended the event, Daniel Komezusenge noted the Rwandan youth are eager and willing to contribute to national development.

"We have vowed to fight, and eliminate drug abuse in Rwanda. We aim at making Rwanda the first African country that is drug free. We have also come up with an initiative dubbed Agaciro Kangye (my dignity) that will focus more on boosting youth innovations," said Komezusenge.

Other issues raised and agreed upon during the convention include exploiting the expertise amongst their fellow youth as well as establishing cooperatives that would be a channel of economic empowerment.

Meanwhile, during the Youth Connect Convention, thirty youth from all the districts in the country were rewarded for having created jobs and contributed to self and national development through their innovations.

Three of the 30 innovators were named the overall winners. They include Diogene Dusengumuremyi from Nyarugenge district (Kigali) who has a youth technology company. He came third while Ephrem Inganji, an owner of a brewery in Rwamagana district (Eastern Province), was named second overall innovator.

The overall winner was Ange Imanishimwe, a beekeeper from Nyamagabe district (Southern province) who won Rwf3 million.

Imanishimwe's saving are over Rwf50 million.

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