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Rwanda’s First Lady Challenges African Youth On Innovation

by Jean de la Croix Tabaro
3:26 pm
First Lady Jeannette Kagame  

First Lady Jeannette Kagame

Rwanda’s First Lady Jeannette Kagame  has challenged African Youth to get more innovative and exploit existing opportunities on the continent.

“Step out of your comfort zones; create life changing opportunities for you and your communities,” she said Wednesday while opening the youth forum on entrepreneurship in Africa at the ongoing World Economic Forum, Kigali.

She said the African youth can emulate Rwanda’s model by first understanding the current economic drivers and then finding existing loopholes in their countries.

“Learn the rules of this economic environment so you can defy them, as Rwanda has done to truly beat the odds,” she said.

The forum has drawn several participants including young entrepreneurs with relatively big companies and upcoming young entrepreneurs. Both are learning from each other.

Sangu Delle, Founder and CEO of Golden Palm Investments (GPI); an investment holding and advisory company focused on building world class companies in Africa urged the youth, “Never let anyone discourage you but rather set an example to believers, in speech, faith.”

Meanwhile, Ashish J Thakkar, co-founder of the Atlas Mara Group, a Pan-African conglomerate that has acquired the commercial arm of Development Bank of Rwanda (BRD) said the Private sector should bring its contribution in addressing youth unemployment.

“Private sector needs to play its part in addressing youth unemployment by equipping young entrepreneurs.”

The youth in Africa today could be operating under a favourable environment that can allow them seize the existing opportunities.

There is political will to develop an inclusive policy allowing both men and women and the youth to contribute to continent’s progress.

“Africa understands that its greatest source of progress and wealth will continue to be its men and women,” Mrs. Kagame said.

This evening, the Rwandan First lady will attend a Gala Dinner Celebration for the 2016 Social Entrepreneur of the Year Awardees for Africa.

Yesterday another event held on sidelines of WEF discussed role of women in economic transformation under the theme; “Women creating wealth: from financial inclusion to financial independence.”

Panelists included; Mrs Graça Machel, Founder, New Faces New Voices and former First Lady of Mozambique and South Africa, and country representatives of her Foundation reiterated needs of financial institutions to understand business models that would bring women on board.

“We (Africans) organize weddings together, attend funerals together and do every other things together, but when it comes to financing, individualism comes in,” she said.

Way to go is to consider that Africans by culture like to moving together.

“Financial institutions should help with products that can give financing to groups, “she said in front of women entrepreneurs and activists.

Participants agreed women will lead purchasing power in the near future.

First Lady Jeannette Kagame poses for a group photo at a Youth Forum on sidelines of WEF

First Lady Jeannette Kagame poses for a group photo at a Youth Forum on sidelines of WEF