President Paul Kagame has reiterated the need to invest more in the education of the youth to prepare them to be the future of the nation, as the common adage goes, emphasizing that for them to become what is expected of them in future, what is done to prepare them in the present is even more important.
The Head of State made the call on Thursday, while officiating at the swearing ceremony of the new Minister of Youth, Dr. Jean Nepo Abdallah Utumatwishima, who he challenged to take over the mantle and continue where his predecessor stopped, to ensure that what was achieved is consolidated.
Dr. Utumatwishima was appointed Minister of Youth last week, replacing Rosemary Mbabazi, who is headed to Ghana as Rwanda’s High Commissioner to the West African country.
Speaking after the ceremony at Urugwiro Village, President Kagame said that the new minister has a huge task to ensure that the country’s vision to empower young people to be the driving force of Rwanda’s socio-economic development.
“Young people are the future of every country and every society. But we do not only look at the future, we also look at the present. The fact that the youth will play a key role in the future requires us to equip them with the right education,” President Kagame said.
“We always say the youth are the future but what are we doing today? It means that if we expect a good future from young people, we start preparing them now. If you want you children to grow into responsible people, you start preparing them early, beginning with the education and values you teach them early on,” he added.
He pointed out that for that to happen, there is a need for synergy between institutions because an individual institution cannot achieve more working alone.
“Even if the new minister was not part of the government, it should be easy for him to pick up the responsibility because he understands the vision and task at hand. I am sure Abdallah understands this responsibility,” President Kagame said.
He urged Dr Utumatwishima to work with others, learn from experience and also bring on board innovation and modern ways of doing things, to deal with the challenges the country is facing today.
According to the 2022 Population and Housing Census, young people below the age of 30 consist of 65.3 percent of the total population, currently over 13.2 million, and they are expected to 54.3 percent by 2050, while people aged between 16-64, currently at 56.0 percent will reach 61.4 percent by 2050.
Who is Dr. Utumatwishima?
Born in Kinigi, Musanze district, Dr Utumatwishima, 40, is a medical doctor who specializes in surgery and has for the past decade been the head of Kinihira and Rwamagana hospitals, respectively. He has carried out more than 500 surgeries and is currently pursuing his PhD at Gothenburg University, Sweden.
He holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Rwanda (2009) and a Master’s of public health from England’s Manchester Metropolitan University (2016). He was also an epidemiology fellow at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Maryland, USA.
Known for his mobilisation skills, the father of three is also an ardent social media user who regularly challenges genocide deniers on social media and he is also an avid football fan.