Davos, 23 January 2015
President Kagame joined Prime Minister Stefan Löfven of Sweden; UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka; UN Women Global Goodwill Ambassador, Emma Watson; and Paul Polman, CEO and Chairman of Unilever for the launch of the HeforShe Impact 10x10x10 campaign.
The campaign is a one-year pilot bringing together 10 governments, corporations and universities to address gender inequality.
Launching the initiative, President Kagame defined gender equality as common sense:
“There are no losers. When women advance, everyone benefits. The key principle, in addition to understanding gender equality as a human right, is to use the talents of all our people to the full potential, in politics, business and elsewhere. This is common sense if we want to advance and improve our societies.”
Sharing Rwanda’s experience, President Kagame added that lifting barriers to equality has resulted in transformed mindsets:
“We have seen in Rwanda that when we worked to remove legal and social barriers that had kept many classes of people from fully participating in public life, women did not need any special encouragement to emerge.”
“As we see more women in positions of responsibility, mindsets for both men and women about the definitions of leadership also change. And every person, no matter his or her background, sees themselves as a potential leader,” President Kagame added.
Following the launch of the 10x10x10 initiative, President Kagame spoke on the importance of the MDG for sustainable development.
Introduced by moderator Fareed Zakaria of CNN as the man who should get the Nobel Prize for implementation of difficult ideas in a very difficult context, President Kagame highlighted the importance of a collaborative approach to achieving MDGs:
“The MDGs reflected the reality, that responsibility for global development is shared. It is not only about donors, or only about the governments of developing countries. It is all of us together.”
As co-chair of the MDG advocacy group, President Kagame pointed to three lessons learnt from the implementation of the MDG:
“One, gender equality cuts across all the other indicators. Two, it is time to raise our focus from reducing poverty, toward building sustainable prosperity. Three, whether we are talking about climate change, food security, good governance, or health and education, success will come down to whether we embrace innovation and harness advances in science and technology.”
Prime Minister Stefan Löfven of Sweden emphasized the essential role of government in sustaining gender parity:
“Gender equality should be the business of government. It is both morally right and it is economically wise.”
The Millennium Development Goals were established after a series of world summits and global conferences with the aim of implementing a comprehensive development agenda. Rwanda adopted the MDGs along with 191 other countries. The target date for the completion of the MDGs is set for December 2015. With over one million lifted out poverty, gender parity and universal primary education, 60% reduction in maternal mortality, Rwanda is set to achieve almost all of the MDGs by the set target date.
For pictures of President Kagame at the World Economic Forum visit www.flickr.com/paulkagame