President Paul Kagame says there would be no reason for young people to bring excuses because of “who they are, what they want to be, or what they want to have in their lives.”
“You must not be apologetic, you must stand out, you must come out, you must fight for what you want to be and what you want to have. Don’t wait for anybody to come and give it to you as a gift because there will be nobody who will do that,” President Kagame said.
The Head of State made the observation during the 19th National Dialogue Council, commonly known as Umushyikirano which opened today at Kigali Convention Centre (KCC).
President Kagame said that it is now 30 years since the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and the journey has been marked by tragedies of lost lives, but also building the country from ashes, which must be a lesson to the young generation.
“Those who were born in 1994 are turning 30. There are many; those who live in the country, and abroad. The country is expecting a lot from you. What I can ask them is what lessons did they learn?” the Head of State asked.
“They should understand that they have a big responsibility to move this country forward. They will be future leaders, and know what to fight; firstly, they are things concerning our history, others are things that we share with others, outside our country, and things concerning bad politics.”
In his speech today, President Kagame emphasized that Rwandans mindset should guide them, especially the youth, given the country’s history, lessons learnt from it, and the country’s direction.
“We have no room to behave like spoiled kids. Where others can afford to walk for days to cover a certain distance, for us we must run the same distance in just a few hours,” President Kagame said.
He stated that Rwandans cannot be complacent, because they have unique challenges and are a small country, with a modest economy. However, there are not small people.
According to the previous general census, Rwanda’s population is predominantly young. Approximately 67% of the population is under the age of 25. Another indicator of Rwanda’s youthful population is the low percentage of people over the age of 65. They represent 3%.
“We don’t have that luxury. Where others work for two hours and go to sleep, we have to work for ten more hours; where others can afford to walk, we have to run to catch up. That is how Rwanda is and we need to act accordingly. We need to do the right thing to reach our shared vision for a bright future,” he added.
Tomorrow will be the last day for 19th National Dialogue Council. It is anticipated that crucial topics will be discussed including Rwanda’s Journey of Unity and Resilience, by the Ministry of National Unity and Civic Engagement and a discussion on Youth Leadership in Shaping Rwanda’s Future.
Other expected discussions will be Voice of the Youth in Conservation.