Massachusetts, 10 March 2017
President Kagame today addressed the Harvard Kennedy School at a session themed ‘A Conversation with Paul Kagame’ moderated by Lant Pritchett, Professor of the Practice of International Development at Harvard Kennedy School.
Addressing students and scholars of the Ivy League university, President Kagame observed that with the prevailing global trends, Africa should move to look after its own business and interests.
He pointed out that the African Union’s decision to seek self-financing and less dependence on donors is important at a time when the world is facing current global uncertainties.
“Our world is changing rapidly and profoundly though the direction and the destination are still unclear. This context of global uncertainty is also among the factors pushing us in Africa to look after our own business and interests.”
President Kagame said that some of the expected changes might be beneficial in leading the African continent to define its interest and positions on matters.
“The arrival of a new administration in the United States always brings a period of recalibration. From where we stand, there is no cause for alarm. Some of the changes in the horizon might prove beneficial. Beyond some notable initiatives, such as The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) or President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the policy of the US in Africa has lacked strategic coherence for some time. Even if the new equilibrium is that Africa is increasingly left to its own devices, this is not such a bad thing.”
President Kagame said that among the agents of change is the African Union reforms process under a blue print adopted by the Assembly at the at the body’s summit in Ethiopia this year.
“The African Union has many weaknesses, but total cynicism is also incorrect. Many problems would be much worse without the role played by African institutions in places such as Somalia, The Central African Republic or Gambia,”
President Kagame also fielded questions from students which included the concept of Agaciro which he said aimed at making Rwandans have self-belief.
On whether Rwanda’s model was replicable elsewhere on the continent, President Kagame said that this was not a ‘miracle’ and was possible across African countries.
Introducing the President, Prof. Graham Allison Director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs extended an invitation to the President to become a frequent speaker at the institution to aid in covering more topics.
Earlier on in the morning, President Kagame delivered a lecture at Harvard Business School where he highlighted the role of ownership in sustainable transformation. He told the students that Rwanda’s approach to set medium term and long term growth strategies has been crucial in maintaining and sustaining growth as well as getting through challenges.