Kigali, 13 December 2012

President Kagame opened the 10th National Dialogue with a reminder to those present of the importance of working together towards the development of Rwanda and well-being of all Rwandans. However, President Kagame added that dialogue needed to be expanded to include external actors whose actions affect the lives of Rwandans.

“We cannot come together to build our nation and have external actors decide our future for us…we must have a dialogue to achieve a common understanding that they cannot interfere in the decisions that Rwandans have made together,” President Kagame said.

President Kagame told the participants that this year’s dialogue themed “Agaciro: Working for Self Reliance” is a call to all Rwandans to take part in the struggle against poverty, hunger, disease to achieve development. “Dignity and self reliance are not easy gains, the more we seek peace and self reliance, the more resistance we face from external actors who do not support our progress.”President Kagame said. “In the morning, they teach us about human rights but they come back in the evening to take away your rights and tell you to do as they say,” President Kagame explained.

“The cost of accepting injustice is much higher than the cost of pushing back and refusing…we cannot be seen as people who accept injustice,” President Kagame emphasized,” President Kagame added.

Rather than blaming others for injustice, President Kagame challenged the audience as well as Africans around the continent to ask themselves why they have allowed themselves to be used as tool at the disposal of others.

President Kagame’s speech was followed by presentations on values of self reliance in Rwanda, EDPRS 2, innovative financing mechanisms and strategic skills development and youth employment.

Minister Musoni of Minaloc shared that over the past 5 years, 1 million Rwandans had been lifted out of poverty helped along by homegrown solutions such as Gira Inka and Ubudehe. Following this presentation, Minister John Rwagombwa of Finance Ministry shared data on current and projected Rwandan economy. Minister John Rwagombwa showed that per capita GDP in Rwanda has tripled in the past ten years. Presenting EDPRS 2, Minister John Rwagombwa emphasized the innovation focus of the new EDPRS strategy and stated that innovation is key to achieving Vision 2020.

Throughout the presentations, participants from around the world joined the conversation sending over 6,000 questions through sms, facebook and twitter. Today’s National Dialogue was attended by over 900 participants including members of Cabinet and Parliament, local leaders, civil society and Rwandans living abroad. The final day of the National Dialogue will include presentations on Innovative financing mechanisms towards self-reliance, Strategic skills development and youth employment and 18 years of Post-Genocide period, overcoming challenges and future prospective