New York, 7 June 2011
President Kagame on Tuesday June 7, 2011 met with members on the Council of Foreign Relations in New York, who invited him to speak to them on a range of issues. These included investment and economic growth in Rwanda, trade and aid to Africa and the AU’s involvement in conflict resolution on the continent.
In his address to the Council members, President Kagame spoke of the importance of strengthening trade and investment opportunities in Rwanda. He explained that these are a priority for the country and play a key role in the development process.
“We have focused on trade and investment and how that can reinforce our continued development. That is why we concentrate on doing business and searching for ways of making it easy for people to come and invest in Rwanda. So far so good. Still, we still face many challenges ahead and we will continue to confront these challenges”
During the question and answer session, members were particularly keen to know the President’s perspective concerning trade versus aid for Africa and Rwanda as one of the key areas of interest.
President Kagame noted that aid to Africa and other countries around the world should be welcome, but that it would only be effective if it served the purpose of empowering the people who receive the aid to build capacities towards managing the development process on their own.
“Any aid, any support will have a meaning if it builds capacity of the people so that they can stand on their own two feet. Aid should be accepted and invested in a way that ensures that tomorrow you don’t need more aid. In that way, recipients can reap from the benefits that aid provides.”
The Chairman of the Council’s Africa Advisory Board and also Africa Advisory Committee of Human Rights Watch Chairman, Mr. Vincent A. Mai, on behalf of the members, concluded the meeting by congratulating Rwandans for the progress made over the last 17 years. He called on fellow council members to continue the conversation on ways to strength foreign relations across the globe.
“Rwanda has shown tremendous progress over the years and we hope to see this progress continue in the years to come. The country has faced challenges but has proved that with good governance, resilience and the support of the regional and international community, real progress is possible”.
President Kagame will deliver the Rwanda statement at the UN General Assembly High Level Meeting on HIV and AIDS later today. First Lady Jeannette Kagame, in her capacity as First lady and President of Imbuto Foundation, will today attend a meeting on First spouses for the elimination of new HIV infections in children.