Los Angeles, 30 April 2013
President Kagame today gave the keynote address at an event held on the sidelines of the Milken Institute Global Conference bringing together leaders in the profit and non profit sectors. Hosted by the Apollo Group Inc and chaired by its CEO and Director of the Board, Charles Edelstein, the evening’s discussion centered on the role of education in creating and sustaining economic growth.
President Kagame began by sharing Rwanda’s history and its journey to reconstruction:
“We started from a very low base with one million lives that had been lost, four million refugees who were living outside Rwanda and a country that could have become a failed state. Today, Rwanda is still rebuilding itself but 11 million Rwandans are now hopeful that their future is a bright one.”
President Kagame explained that recognizing the value of every Rwandan was key in transforming the country:
“We decided where we wanted to go, how to get there and created a shared vision that empahasised Rwandans as the nation’s most valued resource. With twelve years free basic education, over 90% enrollment rate and over 95% access to health, our national budget prioritises the well-being of all Rwandans.”
Charles Edelstein pointed to Rwanda’s leadership and its approach to development as model beyond Africa:
“Rwanda’s stunning turnaround can serve as an example globally and can teach each of us valuable lessons on how to run our businesses. Rwanda’s leadership is walking the talk and setting the tone from the top.”
President Kagame concluded his address by describing Rwanda’s vision as based on the lessons of the past and the belief that working with partners should lead to achieving self reliance:
“The resilience of Rwandans is driven by the anger caused by remembering where we have been and the determination to ensure that we develop as soon as we can and end dependency.”
President Kagame also addressed key leaders in the private and public sectors in a private roundtable aimed at exploring the opportunities for investment in Rwanda and in Africa.
Describing the initiatives that have led to a continuous increase in investment in Rwanda, President Kagame said:
“It is about transparency, internal reforms, enforcing the rule of law, good governance and the opportunity that regional integration presents for investment.”
President Kagame was joined on the panel by former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, Chairman of Ardagh Group Paul Colson, CEO&Founder of Liquidnet, CIO of OPIC William Pearce and Former Associate US Attorney General Thomas Perelli.