Kigali, 17 August 2011

President Kagame today received 20 students from Trinity College and University College Dublin, who have been in the country for more than two months undertaking a Masters in Development Practice as part of a summer placement arrangement with the National University of Rwanda. In a short speech read out by a representative of the students to the President, the students underlined that during their stay, they had enjoyed every moment and travelled virtually to every corner of the country due to an “overwhelming sense of security, safety and peace” prevailing in the country. “When we go back home, we will carry with us fond memories of this country that we will cherish forever.”

During the interactive question and answer session, President Kagame told the students that Rwanda does not intend to live on aid forever and is working towards weaning herself off aid: “As global trade and investments decline, we expect everything else to decline, including aid. Even if the current global financial problems were not there, it is morally wrong to think you can live on aid forever. In Rwanda, we will not say that we don’t need aid, we do, but we want to use the aid we get to build our capacities so that we can ultimately be able to stand on our own.” President Kagame observed that if global trade was free and fair, developing nations would realize there times more money than what is given as aid.

Speaking to the press after the meeting, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Sharon Haba said: “The discussion with the President ranged from what the students studied in class and from their own experience during their stay in Rwanda. Their stay here is beneficial both to the students and to our country.” She also said that Rwanda also intends to start a development practice program so that people cannot only come to make Rwanda a case study but also come to study in Rwanda.

The students are originally from Canada, USA, France, Ireland, Brazil, Brazil, Afghanistan, Tanzania and Uganda.