President Kagame meets Rwandan community in Europe
The President of the Republic of Rwanda, H.E. Paul Kagame on Saturday
(Jan. 25, 2003) held a daylong meeting with over four hundred
Rwandans resident in Belgium, France,
Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.
During the meeting, President Kagame, cabinet ministers and members of the
Unity and Reconciliation, and Constitutional commissions briefed the Diaspora
community on a wide range of major policy issues, particularly the domestic
economy, the poverty reduction programme, investment, the unity and
reconciliation programme, governance reforms, justice and gacaca.
In his address, President Kagame urged the Diaspora community to make the
decision to support economic and social development, and governance reforms
in Rwanda. He said European countries had developed because they had made
the conscious decision to work together to achieve that goal, and embraced
the policies that enabled them to achieve them.
President Kagame strongly condemned the politics of division and sectarianism
that had led Rwanda to genocide. He said that the politics of Rwanda today
are, "politics of unity and equal rights for all." He said that the Government of
National Unity would strongly oppose anyone who attempts to return Rwanda
to the same path of sectarianism that led to the genocide. He further pointed
out that the problems and challenges in Rwanda, like poverty and HIV/AIDS
affect everyone, regardless of their background.
President Kagame noted that the reforms introduced to the country over the
last few years, including democratization, decentralization and economic
reforms, are good for the country and are being undertaken with that
The President once again said that Rwandans living outside the country and do
not have a criminal record are welcome to return home. He also appealed to
them to emulate the example of Ethiopians, Eritreans and Ghanians living in the
Diaspora who invest hundreds of millions of US dollars each year in their home
countries. He assured them that the requisite economic and political stability
exists in Rwanda for them to feel secure in investing in the country.
President Kagame also urged the Diaspora community to take advantage of the
easy access to technology and knowledge in Europe to learn skills that could
be useful to Rwanda.
President Kagame announced that the government would fund the
establishment of a Rwanda cultural centre in Brussels. The center, which will
serve the Diaspora Community and friends of Rwanda in Europe, is to be
established in the near future.
The Diaspora meeting was also addressed by the Minister for Local Government,
Information and Social Affairs, Hon. Christophe Bazivamo, the Minister of
Finance and Planning, Hon. Dr. Donald Kaberuka, the Minister of State for
Investment Promotion, Tourism and Cooperatives, Dr. Patrick Habamenshi and
the Executive Secretary of the Unity and Reconciliation Commission, Mrs.