San Francisco, 25 April 2014

President Kagame addressed Stanford in a lecture to students and faculty marking the Stanford Business School Global Speaker Series. Speaking to over four hundred students, President Kagame attributed Rwanda’s continuous progress to the ownership of all Rwandans:

“It has been a very long and challenging journey. The most important thing is that the progress involves Rwandans. We do what it takes to fulfill our potential and our aspirations.”

President Kagame listed social and economic stability as key to sustaining Rwanda’s development to date:

“We work to put in place the right environment: political stability, security, institutional governance that prioritizes accountability.”

On the issue of aid, President Kagame pointed to the need of both recipients and donors to redefine their relationship:

“There is nothing wrong with aid as long as it serves the purpose of getting people out of the cycle of poverty and dependency. Donors have been good at providing aid but not good at recognizing that recipients know their own needs and priorities. On the recipient’s side, the focus has been on getting aid rather than on what we need to stand on our own. We need to hold each other accountable on how aid is used and how to work together to get rid of aid.”

On the question of presidential terms, President Kagame challenged those present to go beyond empty rhetoric and to not dismiss the voices of Rwandans:

“I have been asked this question since I came into office. I do not write the constitution, it is written by Rwandans. Can you respect Rwandans and allow them to do what is right for them? I am here to deliver to my people not to keep answering these questions.”

President Kagame concluded by sharing his vision for the future:

“My vision is one where Rwandans and Africans live dignified lives and Africa is playing its rightful role in global affairs.”

Following the Global Speakers Series, President Kagame held interactive discussion with students from Stanford Business School where he shared his personal experience in rebuilding the nation:

“Twenty years ago, we did not only lose one million lives. We nearly lost a whole country. We were left with nothing. No money, no infrastructure. Entire families were exterminated leaving individuals standing alone. That is the situation we had   to manage. Today we work together, we learn from our mistakes and we move forward together.”

The Global Speaker Series seeks to enrich the GSB community’s global perspective by inviting top executives, government leaders, and other distinguished guests to speak on globally relevant topics. Speakers share personal reflections on leading a global career and inspire students to develop as future leaders in their fields of choice.