Atlanta, 15 March 2013

President Kagame today addressed a breakfast hosted in his honor by the World Affairs Council of Atlanta. Attended by leaders in the field of business, politics and non profits including former city of Atlanta mayor and US Ambassador to the UN Andrew Young and Senator Johnny Isakson of Georgia, the breakfast was an opportunity for all attending to learn more about the opportunity to partner in both the private and social sector in Rwanda.

Describing President Kagame’s stance towards building partnerships, Ambassador Andrew Young described President Kagame’s leadership as a leader who is interested in African independence and partnerships rather than neocolonialism.

President Kagame highlighted the challenges Rwanda faced to rebuild the country and pointed to the importance of partnerships in Rwanda’s ongoing transformation:

“Rwanda started at a very low base where we did not have the opportunity to prioritise. Everything was a priority and we were working in a society whose social fabric had been torn apart. Partnerships and the resilience of Rwandan people are the reasons Rwanda has been able to turn around a very difficult situation.”

When asked about the most important contribution external partners could bring to Rwanda, President Kagame emphasised the need to focus on long term rather than short term solutions:

“Where we want to be is still far away and we are a work in progress. The most important thing is building systems and institutions that will allow the country to continue moving forward. Any assistance that by passes institutions may be helpful in the short term but when you go you will leave nothing or it requires you to stay forever. But people never stay forever. The key is to empower people to take charge of their lives. That is what makes the difference.”
Discussing business opportunities, President Kagame explained the progress Rwanda has made in establishing one of the most business friendly environment and pointed to infrastructure and energy as key priority areas.

“Infrastructure, demand for results and data that shows results have been needed in Rwanda for a long time. They are now happening in Rwanda and are an encouragement for people who want to do business,” added President and Chief Executive Officer of Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International, Clare Richardson.

Following the breakfast, President Kagame attended a lunch hosted in his honor by Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Coca-Cola Company, Muhtar Kent alongside Ambassador Andrew Young, Howard Buffett and members of the Coca-Cola team.

Established in 2010, the World Affairs Council of Atlanta describes itself as a forum for dialogue, a source of expertise and an engine for research on international affairs and global issues that impact the corporate community, governmental and non-governmental organisations and general public.