Rwanda: Kagame Urges Youth to Take on Challenges

20 September 2021

Young people should not shy away from taking on seemingly hard and complex tasks and responsibilities but rather be solution-oriented and think out of the box, President Paul Kagame has challenged the youth.

Kagame was speaking at the Kigali Convention Centre while interacting with about 600 university students from higher learning institutions in the country as part of The Pathway series hosted by Fred Swaniker, founder of the African Leadership Group.

Kagame challenged young people not to shy away from tasks and responsibilities that seem hard, noting that the cost of leaving them undone could have long term consequences.

"Those hard things must be done. Somebody has got to do that... the pathway to doing hard things can be difficult or simple depending on how you pay attention to details of the hard things to be done," he said.

In doing seemingly hard things, Kagame challenged the youth to go beyond the ordinary and what may come off as unconventional as some challenges may not have textbook solutions.

"In all that, you have to do the hard thinking. You are challenged to think beyond the ordinary," he said.

He shared his experience following the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi where the challenges that faced the country such as the quest for justice and restoration of order were unique without much 'textbook' citation to borrow a leaf from.

"When we arrived here, a big part of our population was devastated. We were challenged to find where to start from. There is no textbook that could give us solutions. We had to think out of the box," he shared.

He also tipped them on self-reliance to seek solutions within before going out to seek external help and intervention.

"To the young people here, before you go to anyone for help, make sure you have challenged yourself enough. Seek for help after you've tried," he noted.

Commenting on the appropriate response to continued negative press from Western Media, he said the focus should be more on doing the right things for oneself.

"The concentration should be more on doing the right things for ourselves. They really think they are entitled to present us the way they want us to be, not what we are or should be," he said.

Commenting on his global engagement as an African leader, Kagame said there is still a lot of work to be done in the continent which requires an organized approach in partnership with the rest of the world.

"Africa is part of the world and there are things that other parts of the world have that we need to develop ourselves, so how we link to the rest of the world is important," he said.

On what young people can do in light of the Covid-19, he called them to first take care of themselves.

"Keep trying to do your best because while others are getting vaccines, we are using many other means to fight the Covid-19 pandemic. Protect yourselves and those around you," he said.

Asked about his personal view on the presidency, he described it as an "opportunity to serve".

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