President Paul Kagame has said that time will come when he has to leave office, expressing optimism that there are many young Rwandans out there who will decide what to do with their country and choose who to carry the batton.
“There are many young people doing things home. My time will come when I have to leave and these young people will decide what to do with their country and will choose amongst themselves who carries the batton,” Kagame said.
The President was speaking on Saturday, October 12, during the World Policy Conference (WPC) in Marrakesh, Morocco.
Kagame assured participants that his government has so many capable young Rwandans who are doing things back home – that he can even find time to attend such conferences.
For instance, he said that, Rwandans who were born 25 years after the horrific 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi are more than 40 percent of the population.
“People who were born after the Genocide constitute 42% of our population, those under-35 are 71%, these are the people doing all these things,” Kagame said.
To set a proper future for young generation, President Kagame, who was the guest of honour at the conference, told participants that his government decided to spend on young people to study abroad.
And, he added, many have come back home to contribute to the country’s development.
“We’ve been sending people to study abroad and over 90% of those we sent have come back and they are the ones running things back home. That’s how I was able to come here,” Kagame told participants.
President Kagame himself launched a Presidential Scholarship award program to ensure young Rwandans get access to world class universities in order to help them serve their country.
In 2006, Kagame travelled to United States to receive his honorary doctorate degree at the Oklahoma Christian University in recognition of his exemplary role in transforming Rwanda.
While there, the President launched the scholarship program. Since then, many universities in the US, UK and Germany have partnered with the program, offering Rwandan students scholarships in important fields such as science and technology.
For instance, as of 2015, more than 411 students had benefited from the Presidential Scholarship Program.
Unlike many African scholars, many of whom have stayed in Western countries they studied from, upon graduation, Kagame’s Presidential Scholarship beneficiaries return to Rwanda to participate in the development of the country.
Some have started charity organisations, while others are engaged in businesses. Others are ardent civil servants.
Commenting on his leadership, Kagame said that “Good things don’t happen because you’re doing bad things. There isn’t going to be a situation where one person does everything even in our situation. Even iron hands have where they end.”
On his succession, Kagame said that “Even where succession has come very rapidly and where success has been, anywhere across the world, there is no guarantee that things won’t go wrong.”
President Kagame was re-elected for a seven-year term in August 2017.