London, 18 May 2013
Three thousand Rwandans and friends of Rwanda from across Europe, North America and Africa gathered in London to celebrate Rwanda Day themed “Agaciro: Delivering Prosperity.”
President Kagame greeted the cheering crowd of thousands by referring to both as “imfura” or dignified:
Referring to the challenges Rwanda has faced in the past year, President Kagame urged all present to remember the ability of Rwandans and Africans to find solutions within:
“It is when faced with challenges that a nation or a people prove their ability and their unity. Imfura do not run away from challenges and they do not change the integrity of imfura. Our history has taught us that we must be the solutions to our challenges and determine our destiny. What Africans should have in common is not the burden of dependency but the solution of self reliance.”
President Kagame stressed the importance of Agaciro that begins at home:
“We must begin by respecting ourselves. Dignity cannot be donated to us. We must give it to ourselves.
On the issue of aid, President Kagame warned those present against feeling entitled to charity:
“No one owes us anything. No one other than ourselves has the responsibility for our well being. We must work for it. Why should citizens of other nations be responsible for you?”
President Kagame also pointed to the need to question donors who seem oppose to the notion of aid that leads to self reliance:
“We must question the motives of those who are unwilling to see this relationship change and oppose our ambition to achieve self reliance and cease to be a burden to others. There has to come a time when we rely on ourselves. Rwanda and Africa cannot continue to live like this.”
President Kagame concluded his address by reminding those present that Africa’s bad past should not determine its future:
“We are determined. We know our problems. We want to own up to those problems. Even through hardships, we will resolve them. We will work hard because not doing so means an alternative that is many times worse for the kind of life we want to live. With the right attitude, ideology, hard work, discipline, understanding and owning up to the problem, there is no way we can fail. Some people choose to fail; Rwandans should not choose to fail.”
Speaking before the President, representative of the Rwandan community in Europe Pulcherie Nyinawase thanked President Kagame for restoring the dignity of all Rwandans while Grace Hightower DeNiro described him as “a visionary leader Rwanda is lucky to have.” On behalf of the youth, representative of the Rwandan youth in the UK assured President Kagame that the Rwandan youth remains ready to take responsibility for Rwanda’s future.
This year’s edition of Rwanda Day began with entertainment from Rwandan artists Knowless, King James, Masamba and Chouchou and a panel titled “Investing in Prosperity” during which participants heard from Minister Gatete, Clare Akamanzi and Amin Gafaranga on the economy and increasing investment opportunities in Rwanda.