Kigali, 17 July 2016
Welcoming African heads of State and Government and their delegations, African Union Commissioners and officials to Rwanda for the 27th ordinary African Union Summit, President Kagame asked African to reflect on unity which he said was the principal of the AU as an organization.
“The concept of unity is what anchors human diversity in the bedrock of universal values. Whenever we gather on the basis of what unites us, there is a peaceful solution to every problem. But when people meet as strangers, even small problems are hard to resolve. Belief in the healing power of unity is the defining virtue of African political culture. Indeed, in an increasingly divided world, by upholding this principle, Africa has a lot to offer. The unity of our continent, with an emphasis on integration among other things, should never be subject to preconditions or exceptions, because lasting solutions always involve everyone.”
Underscoring African oneness, President Kagame stated that he believed that a Rwandan was just an African from a particular place and that the tissue of African brotherhood and sisterhood could not be amputated by lines drawn on a map in another century.
Referring to the theme of the 27th AU Summit, President Kagame observed that if men and women did not stand in solidarity, then Africa would come up short across the board.
President Kagame called on African leaders to promote self reliance, beginning with the African Union Commission:
“Good ideas were discussed in yesterday’s retreat on financing the African Union. We should be the ones to pay for activities in which everyone has a stake. This puts responsibility and ownership in our hands. We are capable of it, and we were shown how to do so, and I urge us to move forward with the required political will, without delay. We need to start doing things differently and better. If Africa’s challenges are treated as routine, it means we have accepted to be held back by them forever. We must all reject that future.”
President Kagame also highlighted the significance of collaboration with other regions of the world stating that partnerships produce benefits that flow equitably to all parties, as long as everyone involved clearly defines their respective interests, objectives, and capabilities.
The Chairman of the African Union and President of Chad, President Idriss Déby and the Chairperson of the African Union, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma thanked President Kagame and Rwandans for hosting the 27th AU Summit.