Kigali, 5 October 2018

President Kagame today received a delegation of African Union Youth Volunteer Corps who are in the country on a pre-deployment training, running from September 24 to October 10 2018, conducted at the Centre for Transformative education (CENETRA), Kabuga.

This cohort has brought together 90 young professionals from 45 African Union member states including Rwanda. This comes as a result of an African Union Commission (AUC) request to Rwanda to host this training under the theme: African youth at the centre of continental transformation.

Speaking to the young Africans, President Kagame pointed out that the most important thing is for young men and women, who are the leaders of today and tomorrow, to be mindful of the fact that they need to seize opportunities and push back on challenges that may stand in their way.

“As young people you don’t have as many limitations as you perceive. You have the potential in you to be anything you want. You can contribute to make your country and continent what it deserves to be. Volunteering is a matter of choice. When we got involved as young people in liberating our country, we did not expect any benefits. We wanted people to find a purpose beyond themselves.”

Talking to the young Africans about Africa’s challenges, President Kagame observed that Africans have always been quick to learn bad manners, considering that during colonial times they were taught that they were different and should kill each other.

There are problems that are specific to different parts of our continent but the more we work and stand together the more strength we have in tackling these challenges. This is the African Union idea and should be the ideal that leads and drives you as young Africans. We don’t feel that there is anything special we have done as Rwanda. If we managed to overcome our challenges ourselves, then anyone else in the world can. As young people you should never surrender to problems. We are like a laboratory; everything has been tested here. But this past also comes with a silver lining in that what we drew from our past has gone a long way to make us better people than we were in history. You find that those of you from different parts of the continent are going to discover more similarities than differences here. For those differences there are also positives; being different is not negative.”

Encouraging the African youth to change the course of the continent, President Kagame said: “God gave us everything to use; a rich continent and brains to produce more but why do we as a continent keep going back and ask God to help us? Africa needs the youth to think and do things differently and better than we did.

The training is being conducted within the framework of the Itorero training model, where the youth are being taught about the importance of using home-grown solutions in addressing challenges their respective countries and the continent face.