London, 12 July 2012
Today at Oxford University, President Kagame took part in the interactive discussions with over 200 global leaders ranging from heads of states, nobel laureates, scholars and members of the private sector.Held at Oxford University, the Re|Source 2012 conference aims to start a new conversation on the challenge posed by seemingly scarce resources and the world’s growing population.
Preceding President Kagame’s panel, Hans Grosling shared what many consider an unconventional approach to the understanding of global population and economic trends. He pointed to the overall progress in economic and population trends in most of Asia and Africa-including Rwanda where fertility rates has reached the halfway point between 8 and 2 children per family. Grosling told the audience that when it comes to current conventional views on the issue of population growth in the so-called developing world, “we are not dealing with ignorance but with intense arrogant views of the progress in Africa and Asia in the last 25 years.” “It is clear that Africa is the future,” he added.
Following the introductory panels, President Kagame opened the “Food Glorious Food” panel that brought together David Nabarro- UN Secretary General’s Special Representative on Food Security and Nutrition, Paul Conway-Vice Chairman of Cargill Inc,Professor Charles Godffray-Director of the Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Food and Peter Howell-General Manager of Rabobank International.
President Kagame shared the experiences of programs such as crop intensification program that have led Rwanda to achieving sustainable agriculture and attaining food security. President Kagame told the participants: “prioritizing food security is a question of political will…if Rwanda can do it, so can any country that wants to.”
President Kagame also challenged the audience to “look at the growing population as a resource, and not always a liability.”
“They can be part of the solution if we ensure that productivity increases as population does. People should be empowered to find ways to increase resource efficiency, reduce waste and manage demand effectively,”he added.
Similar to the integrated multisectoral programs that define Rwanda’s approach to food security, President Kagame reminded the audience to look at food security in its larger context.
“To create sustainable benefits and growth nationally and across the world, we must continue to make global market linkages and address other barriers like subsidies and stringent quality standards whose main purpose seems to exclude products from some places,”he told the participants.
President Kagame concluded by reminding the participants that food insecurity must be treated as a “threat to human existence in the same way we have tackled and reduced other issues of our time.”