The New Times (Kigali)

15 March 2013

Rwanda: President Kagame Urges Long-Term Partnership

Photo: Paulo Filgueiras /UN
Rwanda President Paul Kagame (file photo).

President Paul Kagame has urged international partners to focus on contribution that will have a long term impact for Rwandans.

President Paul Kagame. 'Any assistance that bypasses institutions may be helpful in the short-term, but when you go you will leave nothing or it requires you to stay forever. But people never stay forever. The key is to empower people to take chaThe President made the remarks while addressing a breakfast meeting hosted in his honour by the World Affairs Council of Atlanta.

Kagame highlighted the challenges Rwandans has faced in rebuilding the country and emphasised the importance of partnerships in the country's ongoing transformation.

"Rwanda started at a very low base where we did not have the opportunity to prioritise. Everything was a priority and we were working in a society whose social fabric had been torn apart. Partnerships and the resilience of Rwandan people are the reasons Rwanda has been able to turn around a very difficult situation," President Kagame said.

He added: "Where we want to be is still far away and we are a work in progress. The most important thing is building systems and institutions that will allow the country to continue moving forward."

"Any assistance that bypasses institutions may be helpful in the short-term, but when you go, you will leave nothing.

The key is to empower people to take charge of their lives. That is what makes the difference," he added.

Opportunity for partnership

Attended by leaders in the field of business, politics and non profits including former city of Atlanta mayor and US Ambassador to the UN Andrew Young and Senator Johnny Isakson of Georgia, the breakfast was an opportunity for attendees to learn more about the opportunity to partner in both the private and social sector in Rwanda.

Ambassador Andrew Young described President Kagame as a leader who is interested in African independence and partnerships rather than neo-colonialism.

On business opportunities, the President explained the progress Rwanda has made in establishing one of the most business-friendly environments and pointed to infrastructure and energy as key priority areas.

Clare Richardson, the president and Chief Executive Officer of Diana Fossey Gorilla Fund International noted that infrastructure and the demand for results has been focus for Rwanda for a long time.

President Kagame also attended a luncheon hosted in his honour by Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Coca-Cola Company Muhtar Kent alongside Ambassador Andrew Young, Howard Buffet and members of the Coca-Cola team.

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