Brussels, 05 June 2018

President Kagame today attended the opening ceremony of the 12th edition of the European Development Days (EDD) in Brussels, Belgium.

The gathering which runs from 5-6 June is themed ‘Women and Girls at the Forefront of Sustainable Development: protect, empower, and invest’ and focuses on the vital role of women and need for their full and equal participation and leadership in achieving SDGs.

Speaking at the event, President Kagame pointed out that for too long, society has created a psychology that women are inferior and can only rise at the mercy of men; a norm that can no longer be tolerated.

“Compensating women for where they have been disadvantaged is not enough. We have to truly level the playing field and make public pledges that raise standards and expectations, going forward. It is up to leaders at every level to ensure that there is accountability for changing harmful societal norms. The task cannot just be left to individuals to sort out among themselves,” President Kagame said.

Using Rwanda’s example of instituting reforms to ensure that women and girls continue to thrive, the President called on world leaders to adopt an approach that focuses more on the benefits that gender equality brings to society. “As a result, no one feels they have lost something and the gains are sustainable,” he added.

Before the opening ceremony, President Kagame was received by King Philippe of Belgium. The President also met with European Parliament President Antonio Tajani and President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca of Malta.

Yesterday, President Kagame held bilateral talks with Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel and met with EU leaders including European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker among others.