Kigali, 22 May 2014
President Kagame has said that inspite of numerous challenges face, African countries have been able to make progress in the last half a century. President Kagame was making a Keynote Address today after officially opening the AfDB Annual Meetings 2014 taking place in Kigali, attended by various serving and former African Heads of State.
“For most of our countries the road has been uneven and we have sometimes stumbled or stalled. But we have forged ahead. Across the continent, there is a renewed sense of optimism that gives meaning to the now familiar phrase of “Africa Rising”. We are responsible for ourselves. Together we can rise or stumble. Challenges can’t tackled by one country.
Emphasizing the need for Africans look into themselves for solutions to their problems, President Kagame said the progress of Africa would depend on Africa’s ability to work together and with other partners on meaningful mechanisms to resolve conflicts as well as other underlying challenges.
“The world may want us to rise, but it won’t catch us if we fall. We are responsible for ourselves and we are also, to some extent, responsible for each other. Instability in any part of Africa affects us all.”
On the need for Africa to closely cooperate in order to achieve the aspirations continent Africans, young and old, President Kagame said:
“By collaborating better, the bright future has a greater chance of becoming a reality within our lifetimes. Today’s most important challenges cannot be tackled by any country on its own.
“The kind of rapid advancement we all want will only be achieved by sound implementation. To give our citizens, especially young Africans, the lives they dream of, we have a lot higher to climb. Africa is rising but it is not enough to exceed the low expectations that others had of us and that we have had of ourselves. We cannot afford to sit back and take the future of our continent for granted.”
President Kagame said Africa has the ability to reach where it wants but warned that this would only happen if every African nation put more effort in doing things right. President Kagame commended the African Development Bank for effectively playing the role of a bridge between Africa and the rest of the world and congratulated the current AfDB President Donald Kaberuka for making not on Rwanda, but the whole of the African continent proud.
In attendance were the current AU Chairman and President of Mauritania, Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Omar Bongo Ondimba of Gabon, Deputy President of Kenya William Ruto, the Chairperson of the AU Commission, Dlamini Zuma and the AfDB President, Donald Kaberuka.
During an interactive panel themed “Have Your Say”, bringing together President Kagame, President Museveni, President Bongo and Deputy President Ruto following the official opening, President Museveni said the fact that Africa is experiencing growth without adequate infrastructure is indicative of the potential of the continent. He also pointed out that when people talk about the youth of Africa, it should not just be about the biological aspect but mostly about ideology.
President Omar Bongo pointed out that no other continent has done what Africa has done in last 50years but suggested that there should be more ambitions and implementation.
Reiterating the need for unity among African nations, President Kagame said:
“The Africa we want is the Africa we deserve, one we are managing ourselves because we are capable of it. We rise together or we fall together. By not standing firm with or for each other, we tempt people to abuse us and treat us the way we don’t deserve. Africa has resources yet we are the poorest. This means there is a lot we have but there is a lot we are not doing right”