Gatsibo District, 28 March 2013

President Kagame said today that it was clear progress has been made in the areas of understanding what needs to be done and how it should be done, but that a lot remains to be done when it comes to implementation. President Kagame was speaking on the first day of the 10th National Leadership Retreat taking place at Gabiro School of Infantry in Gatsibo District, Eastern Province. About 270 senior officials from central and local government, representatives of the legislative and judiciary as well as members of private sector are meeting at the retreat to strategise on accelerating Rwanda’s economic growth.

President Kagame said that the targets in Rwanda’s development strategy were essential for the transformation of the lives of all Rwandans:

We want 11% growth to ensure that Rwandans lead the life they deserve. We are no longer a resigned Rwanda where Rwandans did not believe they could aspire to be like others. As leaders we must believe and we must make others believe that we can achieve. We are really no different in terms of those aspirations from those who want to determine how we live our lives. You don’t do it for them, you do it with them. That is the duty you have as leaders. That is why we are here.”
President Kagame reiterated that Rwanda’s unique problems mean that leaders cannot afford the luxury of being complacent and must work hard to achieve self reliance:
“Our main problem is dependence. As long as you are dependent, those who feed you will believe they own you. We cannot be people who accept to be submissive. We must not be silent. We cannot accept to be what someone else wants us to be. Africans are worth much more than what they make us out to be. This is our struggle.”

President Kagame also urged all present to strive to be respected as equals rather than be blamed for the failure of others as has been the case with the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo:


How can we be responsible for Rwandaphones living in the Congo, the question should be who took them there? Rwanda never sent Kinyarwanda speaking Congolese to Congo but that does not stop some people from blaming Rwanda whenever there are problems in Eastern Congo. It is only through hard work, determination and resilience that we will be able to ultimately say no to being made to carry other people’s burdens.

In order to create change, President Kagame called on public servants to move more rapidly from words to action and from planning to implementation and to prioritise internal collaboration to ensure the success of the strategies laid out during the retreat.

We are talking about economic growth but I can assure you that you can never achieve this if there is no coordination and communication among institutions in order to complement each other’s strength. Some achievement may be registered in the long run but it will only be a small percentage of the desired target. The way we coordinate and communicate affects the results. We have to plan and strategize to achieve our targets. ”

Following President Kagame’s address, Prime Minister Pierre Damien shared with participants the progress in the key areas of service delivery, energy, poverty reduction, job creation, agriculture and health as laid out during 2012 National Leadership Retreat. With key areas including. With training of local officials, close to 300 Hanga Umurimo projects started, over 50,000 given access to loan through VUP, the Prime Minister congratulated those present for the progress over the last year.

Minister Claver Gatete of the Ministry of Economic Planning and Finance presented to the retreat on rural development, job creation for youth and accountable governance as key strategies to eliminate extreme poverty and double GDP per capita by 2020.

Minister Kanimba of the Ministry of Trade and Commerce highlighted the role private sector as essential to Rwanda’s socio-economic transformation, with target at to triple private investment by 2020.

The theme of the three-day retreat is “Working together to deliver EDPRS 2” and will focus on how to double GDP per capita and increase GDP growth from the current annual average of 8.2% in the last ten years to 11.5% by the year 2020.