Kigali, 20 March 2012
The 10th Presidential Advisory Council concluded today with members committing to promote tourism and mining, two among the key sectors identified as potential pillars of economic development. Today, which was the second and last day of the 10th Presidential Advisory Council meeting, members made visits to mining and touristic sites in Muhanga and Huye from where they returned to report to President Kagame during the closing session.
Speaking to the press at the end of the closing session, Professor Paul Davenport, former President of the University of Western Ontario and a lifelong economist said that the most part of the meeting was that President Kagame found time to be with the members all through the two days as they discussed critical issues affecting the country.
“How many Heads of State would spend two days with a group like ours and be with them all through and discuss and debate with them? President Kagame is indeed an extraordinary leader in his openness to new ideas and to the international opinion around him. During the last two days we discussed a number of issues, among them economic development of Rwanda. We have had some years of economic growth between 7-8% and this is a record; we have seen extraordinary advances in poverty reduction – a million Rwandans lifted out of poverty.”
Basing on these achievements, professor Davenport said that members asked themselves how they can keep this going:
“One of the ideas was that came forward were tourism – we believe there are tremendous opportunities in Rwanda to expand tourism. We have a very safe country and tourists need that. We have a beautiful physical landscape and the extraordinary sites like the gorillas. We have a great story to tell and we are going to tell it better than the future. Another priority area will be mining because we have very valuable metals in Rwanda and we are going to get them out of the ground and sell them internationally. The President talked to us about the future of this country and how we could continue to help him move that future forward.”
The Rwanda Central Bank Governor, Claver Gatete said:
“Last year, we earned more than 150 million Dollars from minerals and 252 million US Dollars from tourism. This means that if we do more in these two sectors we could undoubtedly earn even more and boost our economy. We identified several strategies that can help us attain these objectives and sustain them. These sectors are even more critical because they will also boost our exports. These members are not only advisors to the President but also Rwanda’s Ambassadors abroad. We believe that they will play a big role promoting our image out there using their abundant knowledge, exposure and expertise to woo investments in these sectors.”