I would like to thank the visitors and our guests who joined us today.
I start with Hailemariam Desalegn, even if they were introduced I want to personally thank them.
There is also UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed, Her Highness Princess Basma Bint Ali, Madam Louise Martin, Right Honorable Patricia Scotland, Tony Adams, Ambassador Ron Adams, Niklas Adalberth, Jeremy Jauncey, Otara Gunewardene, Ronan Donovan, Louis van Gaal, Naomi Campbell, Madeilene Nyiratuza, Sherrie Silver, Marco Lambertini, Ne-Yo, Meddy, Robert Twibaze, Emmanuel Niringiyimana, Leonidas Mpumuje, Jean Nepomuscene Musekura, Anthony Nzuki, Luc Bailes, Paul Milton, of course Fred Swanika who is not a guest but one of us, even if he told you that he is from Ghana.
I would like to thank all of our guests, please join me to thank them for joining us today.
I will say little, I want the next speaker to briefly translate. I will mix the languages where it is necessary.
First of all, I would like to thank Musanze citizens and those who came from elsewhere. And I want to thank all citizens for taking care of yourselves and of the environment. Even though it was mentioned before that we all benefit from it, sometimes people do not realize what benefits them and they waste it. So Musanze residents, I thank you very much.
As this big day was for naming baby gorillas, I had an opportunity myself fifteen years ago to name not just one but twin baby gorillas. And as you’ve heard, I wasn’t a bad parent, I looked after them very well, I paid school fees, and in time. And I made sure there was a possibility of communicating with them. We have internet around this area and WIFI, and we’ve been in communication.
One of those children has become an important leader in the family, a silverback. The name of that silverback is Ibyishimo, so it is a very happy silverback.
The success stories we’ve heard from the head of Rwanda Development Board could not have happened without the cooperation, the understanding, the support of the local communities to who I have had the opportunity to express our thanks. We have also made sure that they benefit from this good cooperation over many years that has benefited the gorillas, the country and also the many visitors and tourists who have enjoyed being here because of this partnership.
I do not need to go back into details about the importance of conservation and the environment we live in, that has benefited from many conservationists, and partners across the world, because the benefits have explained that importance.
We’ve mentioned how we give 10% of the total revenues collected from this area to the local communities. This has been very helpful in advancing our cause of conservation as well as development.
So distinguished friends of our country, visitors and tourists, we thank you for making your own contributions towards this.
It is in the same spirit that we also work with our neighbouring countries, mainly DRC and Uganda because there is a lot we share that lives around this area. We ask our citizens to continue to play a very good role in making sure that we see more development, not only in their own community areas but also in the park where the gorillas live.
To all Rwandans present here, Musanze residents and all who couldn’t be here, I thank you and want you to know that what you do has a positive impact on your wellbeing. That is why we decided to increase the tourism revenue sharing rate for communities adjacent to the park to 10%. This aims at improving your livelihood so that you can continue to contribute to your country’s development. Let us keep working together and keep sharing the benefits coming from the park.
I also thank different visitors who joined us today, coming from far, as well as those who will come in the future because they know how much people residing near this park take care of themselves, how they protect the gorillas, and how Rwanda also gets revenue that enables us to develop.
If we keep cooperating and taking care of ourselves, it will bring more friends, tourists, and benefits to the country and to families living near this Volcanoes National Park.
I would like to thank the Rwanda Development Board and all of the staff at this park, those mentioned already, those we saw, as well as others who are not present here. They are always on duty, especially rangers, employees, and RDB who do the follow up each day. I would like to thank them for the great work they are doing.
Let’s continue to work together and do more. That’s how it should be, that’s what Rwanda wants. We know that, and someone said it earlier, the best is yet to come. So let’s move towards this, the best will get to us if we keep working hard.
I thank you, I wish a good day and a pleasant day ahead, as we continue the partnership.
Thank you very much.