Kigali, 17 October 2011
President Kagame today told a delegation from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) that the situations many Rwandans lived through have shaped their resolve to work hard and develop their nation. The group of IFC leaders is in Rwanda as part of a six month corporate leadership program.
In the interactive session President Kagame spoke of his admiration for the late Julius Nyerere
“I had a chance during my adult life to meet with the former President of Tanzania, the late Mwalimu Julius Nyerere. I was impressed by the way he was full of character and presence – he was the kind of person who never shied away from saying and doing what he believed was good for his people”.
On what he looked for in leaders, President Kagame said that a good leader should be able to integrate different ideas and know how to mobilise suitable players capable of delivering and contributing to the success of the system
Answering a question on how Rwanda has been able to achieve a high level of reconciliation after the genocide of 1994, President Kagame said:
“After assessing the magnitude of the situation, we decided to take a multi-pronged approach. First we had to deal with hearts and minds – we had to involve the people themselves and make them understand that success depended on them. We also understood that preaching to hungry people about reconciliation would not work, and therefore had to make sure that we also work on improving livelihoods along the way.”
President Kagame told the IFC delegation that Rwanda has been able to be where it is today because the leadership has decided to depart from common practice and adopt a different approach where everyone has a chance to be a leader:
“People are accustomed to the norm that to be a high ranking leader, one has to hail from somewhere; if it’s not from an affluent family, it has to be a name with a long history in politics. In Rwanda we have made sure that one’s background does not deter them from achieving their life aspirations”.
On accountability, President Kagame said that leaders are encouraged to understand that success is a collective responsibility, that every leader should ensure that beyond their specific assignments, they also contribute to the overall success of the country.