Kigali, 18 December 2014
President Kagame today opened the 12th National Dialogue Council, umushyikirano, at Parliament buildings, held alongside the meeting of the Advisory Council for the National Commission against Genocide. President Kagame also delivered the State of the Nation Address during the event, which was attended by high ranking officials from the Local and Central Government, Rwandans from the Diaspora, Diplomats, and representatives of the civil society, among others. Young people attending Youthkonect at the Amahoro mini Stadium as well as selected District sites were also able to follow today’s National Dialogue through remote connections.
In his opening address, President Kagame said the National Dialogue Council is significant to Rwandans because it provides a forum where people from all walks of life exchange different ideas about what affects their lives and country and seek solutions together.
“As Rwandans we have values that guide us in what we do, we value unity, equal opportunities to all Rwandans and above all, leaders know their responsibilities towards the people of Rwanda. We preserve national unity and combat the ideology of genocide. We seek solutions through dialogue, consensus, and power-sharing. We find the positive values that we need to flourish in our history and culture. We treat every citizen equally and fairly. We consider integrity, accountability, and merit the defining criteria of public service. We must promote the social and material well-being of society as a whole.”“
On the state of the nation, president kagame said a lot has changed and continues to change for the better in many ways, including mindsets:
“We are confident that we will not go back to our regrettable past, because Rwandans cannot allow this to happen. This year, 2014, was no ordinary year. The reality of our past is unspeakable, and yet Rwandans found ways to talk about it. We are the same people, and this is the same country. Yet, at the same time, everything is completely different, because our mindset has changed. What was, will never be again, because Rwandans will not allow it.”
President Kagame said the government will continue to promote agriculture as Rwanda’s main economic activity, as well as enhance alternative economic drivers.
“Many of our accomplishments seemed impossible to achieve. Today, Rwanda’s economy is 7.8% larger than 1 year ago. The Agriculture sector accounts for one-third of GDP and grew 6% over last year. Rwandan farmers not only feed the nation, but also export to neighboring countries. I thank them for their hard work.”
Enumerating other achievements, president kagame pointed out that many organisations prefer to hold international meetings in Rwanda, which indicates a big vote of trust to the country in recognition of the country’s global standing.
President Kagame said Rwandans continue to embrace technology, which is has transformed their financial status:
“Technology is increasingly part of the daily life of every citizen. Mobile money accounts have increased to five million from one million in the last three years.
President Kagame also highlighted Rwanda’s international relations and contribution to peace building in other countries, where Rwandan peacekeepers are being recognized for doing a good job.
“Cooperation with our neighbors has made it easier for citizens to travel and do business and the exemplary service of our peacekeepers abroad, continues to save lives and improve security. Rwanda’s peacekeepers bring honour to our country and we are proud of their commitment. We will complete our tenure on UNSC and we thank our fellow African countries who entrusted us with this responsibility. ”
President Kagame said that the state of our nation is strong but to maintain the pace of progress Rwandans cannot afford to get complacent.
“It is now time to set our sights even higher.The path we have led shows that we can achieve our goals.”
President Kagame emphasised the need for Rwandans to not only develop the culture of giving good services, but also demand for it. He said the mindset of expecting high standards of quality should follow Rwandans in all their endeavours because “Good enough is not enough.”