13 December 2018

Rwanda: Think Big and Be Accountable, Kagame Tells Youth

Photo: New Times
President Kagame addresses delegates during the sixth edition of the annual YouthConnekt Convention in Rusororo Sector, Gasabo District.

President Paul Kagame has reminded the youth of the importance of having the right mindset and building the right character and identity.

The President was on Wednesday addressing over 2,500 youths attending the sixth edition of the YouthConnekt Convention at Intare Conference Arena in Rusororo Sector, Gasabo District.

Participants are young Rwandans who have been attending a two-week National Civic Education programme Itorero while others are youth representatives from all the districts and from 15 countries across the globe.

A cross-section of the youths during a morale boosting session at the YouthConnekt Convention in Rusororo Sector, Gasabo District yesterday. Village Urugwiro.

Kagame reminded the youth that their future is in their hands and pledged to continue providing the resources and environment for them to exploit their potential and be better citizens and future leaders.

"This means your education, the schools you attend; everything we provide is aimed at giving you the skills you need to lead this country," he said.

The President pointed out that education begins with the family and also means being raised with the right values, and building character and an identity.

"Your education and values you represent are not just a reflection of you; it is a reflection of what the country stands for," he told the young men and women.

"We want to build a country with the right values and character," Kagame added.

Further expounding on the two virtues and their implications, the President pointed out that, for years, the country was defined by bad history and the wrong character and identity.

"However, as we stand here, the goal is to transform this country, change the wrong that used to define us and build the kind of unity that will define us for future generations," he said.

Think big

President Kagame challenged the youth to think big in all they strive to do.

The President reminded them to be selfless in whatever they do, consider the well-being of their families, communities and country at large.

He went on to encourage them not to shy away from doing business, saying that being an entrepreneur does not have any threshold for age or gender.

"Start early and think of ideas. Entrepreneurship should not be a last resort after one has failed to get a monthly salary job," the President said.

The Head of State also took time to explain what defines Rwanda today, saying that among the nation's priorities are unity and working together to build a country that is defined by strong values and character.

"Our goals and ambitions must spread beyond our geographical size," he added.

What the youth said

Aloysie Niyotugana, who recently returned from Cameroon where she lived as a refugee with her family for 24 years, said she was grateful for the Rwandan leadership and socio-economic transformation the country has registered.

She explained how different the picture she had of Rwanda was from the reality.

"I first came here under a Come-and-See programme and also participated in one YouthConnekt Convention, what I saw was different from the bad image of Rwanda most of us in exile had," she said.

Niyotugana said she decided to end refugee life and return home for good, owing to the atmosphere in the country.

"I feel like I am resurrected. Back in DR Congo and later Cameroon where I lived, we were told that there is no life in Rwanda and whoever returned would have no right as a citizen," she said, adding that she is ready to play her role in nation building.

The youth are also expected to participate in the National Dialogue (Umushyikirano), that kicks off today.

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