Rwanda’s Minister of Youth & Arts has said that Rwanda can be where the United States of America (USA) if Rwandans stick to three things he learnt from the Americans.
Speaking at Rwanda Day 2024 during a panel discussion themed “Rwanda at 30, Rwanda in the World”, Youth minister Dr. Abdallah Utumatwishima, said that the three lessons he learnt from the US can equally be found in Rwanda.
It was in 2016 when Utumatwishima went to the U.S to study at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for his medical doctorate- a journey that he started with many questions on how the U.S managed to be a developed country.
With an inquisitive mind, Utumatwishima asked his supervisor to explain why and how the Americans managed to get where they are in 240 year of independence (as of 2016).
One of the things he learnt is that Americans, like any great nations, was that every great nation has a name (s) behind the nation building for example Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson among others.
“She told me that in order to do it in Rwanda, you need a name. and she told me you have a name actually- Paul Kagame,” Utumatwishima narrated.
According to Utumatwishima, the supervisor told him that in the last 30 years Rwandans have a name, and that name has helped Rwandans to build what they have and it will continue to build generations to come.
Utumatwishima says that he came to learn that there is always a name in any developed country, let alone the US but also in France and Singapore to mention but a few.
Utumatwishima said that the second lesson learnt (from his supervisor) was that for a great and peaceful America after over 240 years, was a strong army to protect the country from inside and outside.
The minister said that he continued to ask why Americans; if peaceful, developed and strong; have to build walls with neighbors around them and the easy answer he got was that neigbours are always like that.
With this answer, Utumatwishima recalls that Rwanda is yet to learn from that lesson as the country continues to have similar issues with its neigbours.
Utumatwishima said that with Rwanda at 30 these three things have to stick so that Rwanda can be where the U.S is, of which Rwandans are only an eighth of the 247 years of American Independence.
“Rwanda at 30 means the name. I think we have got the name, right? We have to love our name, protect our name, cherish our name and when we are in 2024, we have to remember our name,” Utumatwishima said.
He told Rwandans and friends of Rwanda that where Rwanda has come from and what it has achieved, there is a sign of hope that Rwandans can be where the Americans are today.