“It is better to face things the hard way and go straight to the heart of any problem."
KIGALI - President Paul Kagame of Rwanda (pictured) has directed Government officials in Kigali to draft a working deadline that will see the country stop foreign aid dependency for its development agenda.
Kagame says dependency on foreign aid to pay for things that benefit Rwanda doesn't only cripple self-reliance but it also defiles the dignity of citizens.
"It is better to face things the hard way and go straight to the heart of any problem. Therefore, among the decisions of this Umushyikirano, we should resolve to set a deadline, which should come sooner rather than later, after which Rwanda will no longer be waiting for what others hand out to us," he said on Thursday during the launch of the national dialogue session in Kigali.
Nearly 2000 citizens yesterday gathered at the Kigali Convention Center for the 14th edition of the National Dialogue dubbed—Umushyikirano—to assess the progress of the country and also question leaders, including Kagame about the achievements in the last one year. Charting a way forward on the country's journey is the other point of discussion that shaped the national dialogue in Kigali.
The dependency on foreign aid by Governments on the African continent is a thorny issue that has kept States in a constant financial burden, with some countries spending almost half of the national budgets paying foreign debts. Foreign aid also accounts for almost a quarter of the national budgets of many African states.
According to Kagame, the good news is that many countries, especially Rwanda have built the foundations to spur fundamental infrastructural development to hold-tight the self-reliance demands.
"Our dignity is not about wealth but self believe that we can do it. We have laid the foundation for economic transformation. We have invested heavily in the future we want. It is costly but as we have begun to see this year, the seeds are starting to bear fruit. Tourism is now our number one foreign exchange. We now have the necessary facilities," Kagame said, thanking development partners for contributing resources and ideas toward the development of Rwanda.
"Our political space is no longer occupied by anything except the interest of Rwandans. This principle is always worth fighting for. We have to actually deliver the results that our citizens expect. We used to struggle just to survive but now we struggle to prosper," he added.
However, Kagame warned Government officials against complacency, and instead urged them to take stock of the country's journey and focus on the road ahead.
"Internally, there is complacence; people taking the easy path because it is more convenient even if it is actually harmful. It is better to face things the hard way and go to the heart of the problems and ensure that there us a tomorrow, a future for everyone and for all of us together," he said.
"This country sees every citizen as a stakeholder and not someone to be singled out, hunted, categorised and denied livelihood. More than 95% of Rwandans report the highest level of trust in our police and military. The importance of this fact cannot be over stepped and we cannot lose sight over that," he added.
Organized under the theme; shaping together the Rwanda We want, the annual dialogue meeting, which is chaired by Kagame, gives citizens an opportunity to interact with all Government leaders present. The Government officials, including Kagame, answer questions from citizens on a variety of projects.
Last year's Umushyikirano focused on the choices that Rwanda made in the after month of the genocide
Explaining to citizens Government's implementation progress on the 13 resolutions passed last year, the Prime Minister, Murekezi Anastase, said 69.2% was achieved above 80%.
Yesterday's debate rotated around the topic—Rwanda's achievements: A product of unity and unconventional solutions, looking at the implementation of social programmes. The three-day national dialogue session ends on Saturday.