Brussels, 8 June 2017
President Kagame today met and interacted with the Young Presidents Organisation, Belgium Chapter in Brussels, during a breakfast meeting on the sidelines of the European Development Days held in Brussels.
Speaking to members of the Belgium YPO Chapter and from elsewhere in the world, President Kagame narrated Rwanda’s story from the perspective of transformation, leaping from a situation of devastation.
“From that background it has been a combination of factors to get out of that. It has been due to politics, governance, policies and also due to actual investments by people in business that have had various impacts on our people. The combination of it has taken it to another level. More lessons were drawn yesterday from discussions during the European Development Days meeting where different experiences were recounted.”
On Rwanda’s transformation President Kagame said Rwanda’s situation said that Rwanda’s situation at the beginning was like being handed something that has no value, and you are asked to create value from it.
“That is as challenging as it is. That is how we started with the support we received from outside, from different countries, but that was not sustainable in the medium long term. That is how we started to build from inside by bringing people together to participate and that’s how we started to bring people to reconcile. We mobilized our people and said, we are the ones who got ourselves here and we are the ones who can take ourselves out of here. The message and hard lessons learn from the past helped people to internalize and say we have been down but not out.”
President Kagame said that the situation cleared the way to the extent that when assistance from out came, it found people hungry and ready to put it to good use to elevate themselves out of devastation.
“The message was that we have to reconcile, two, that we have to create a secure environment and three that we had to work, no short cut to it. We told our people that we had the land, the brain and the rain and therefore we had to produce and feed ourselves. We could not expect to be fed by others without an end. That’s how we created a sense of hope that people can do things and that is how we saw the country getting back on its feet, success after success.”
President Kagame said that these concerted efforts by Rwandans themselves and partnerships with foreign governments and businesses have brought Rwanda to where it is.
The breakfast event was attended by leaders in the private sector in Belgium in various sectors including finance, manufacturing and aviation.
YPO is the global platform for chief executives to engage, learn and grow. YPO members harness the knowledge, influence and trust of the world’s most influential and innovative business leaders to inspire business, personal, family and community impact.
In 2009, the Young Presidents Organisation awarded President Kagame with the Global Leadership Award.
Today, YPO empowers more than 24,000 members in more than 130 countries, diversified among industries and types of businesses. Altogether, YPO member-run companies employ 15 million people and generate USD6 trillion in annual revenues.