President Paul Kagame on Friday, November 20, told regional heads of state that peace and security was the most important element to ensure the region thrives.
He was addressing a heads of state summit held virtually under the auspices of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR).
"Peace is a pre-condition for development and prosperity," he said.
The Great Lakes region has, for a long time, been characterized by insecurity emanating from armed groups especially those that operate out of the eastern DR Congo.
The ICGLR was founded in 2000 as a mechanism to prevent conflicts and promote political stability in the region, but 20 years down the road the region is still mired in conflicts.
Kagame said the meeting was a good moment to revitalise the regional body.
"A collaborative and harmonised approach is the best way to deal with the security and public health challenges facing the Great Lakes," he noted in a meeting that was convened by Congolese President Denis Sassou Nguesso, the current ICGLR chair.
Kagame highlighted that although much remains to be done, there has been progress toward eliminating illegal armed groups in our region. Still, he believes it is past time to uproot the armed groups, once and for all.
"Peace is a precondition for development and prosperity," he said. "Similarly, Genocide fugitives should not find refuge anywhere in our region."
The Head of State emphasized the need to bring fugitives to justice, insisting that that can only be achieved through cooperation among the countries of ICGLR to even overcome other regional challenges.
ICGLR member states include; Angola, Burundi, Central African Republic, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.