Kigali, 13 December 2018

President Kagame today opened the National Umushyikirano Council, bringing together 2,000 participants at Kigali Convention Centre and at four sites across the country. The President also delivered the State of the Nation Address, in which he highlighted various issues affecting the country.

Participants included members of the Cabinet and Parliament, representatives of the Rwandan community abroad, local government, Civil Society Organizations, media and the diplomatic community. This year’s Umushyikirano was guided by an overarching objective that focuses on the transformation of citizens’ welfare.

In his State of the Nation Address, President Kagame said that Umushyikirano is a unique Rwandan institution that is about bringing all Rwandans together to review the state of the nation over the past year, and exchange ideas about the way forward.

On regional integration, President Kagame said Rwandans must keep working together and do their best and ignore those who wish Rwanda ill.

“Regional integration most importantly means security. You cannot use your sovereignty to allow your territory to be used to compromise the security of your neighbors. That is not regional integration. Regional integration is give and take. That is what integration and trade mean. It cannot just be for you to take and you don’t give anything. How can you trade with each other if you get put in prison when you cross the border? There are some in our neighborhood who think that regional integration is supposed to only benefit them but not others. This cannot work,“ President Kagame said. 

President Kagame added that integration is not just about trade, but also about security.

President Kagame also said that this last year, Rwanda had the honor of chairing the African Union for the first time and that concrete returns on continental integration efforts were already visible.

“In international affairs, Rwanda has played a role in many aspects. Cooperation with others is also aimed at transforming our country. When we are trusted with a responsibility, we do everything we can to fulfill it,” President Kagame said. 

On national progress and transformation, President Kagame said that when Rwandans come together, they are capable of achieving a lot.

“From experience, we also know that we have the power to multiply the speed and scale of progress. For leaders especially, this simply means doing more of what we are already capable of, using the resources we have, and to do it right now, not later. We owe all the good results we have achieved towards socio-economic transformation to your hard work. I thank every Rwandan for what has been achieved. We are better off than we have ever been, and we are on the right path.

President Kagame encouraged Rwandans on unity and asked them to keep working together towards the same goal and for the benefit of everyone.