Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda

The Millennium Development Goals from Rwanda's Perspective

September 15, 2005 10:00 AM


by President Paul Kagame

Josh Ruxin: There were three critical points that President Kagame brought up
today, three things that are necessary for Rwanda's development. They need a
lot more aid in order to conquer the diseases that are so prevalent in the country,
as well as to build up the economy. They also need improved trade and trade
agreements of course are critical so that their exports can be competitive in the
world markets. And then lastly, what Rwanda needs perhaps more than anything
else are just good partnerships as well as debt cancellation. There's enormous
amounts of debt which the government has. It's a serious percentage of national
income and that debt must be cancelled in order to finance the road ahead.

Unknown Female: So if Rwanda can't succeed without help, what will happen if
it doesn't get the help?

Josh Ruxin: I think that Rwanda's one of those exceptional places where even
without massive influxes of international aid they're going to do amazing things.
After the genocide, for example, the international community virtually abandoned
Rwanda. It was thought of as a failed state. And in that country that just 11
years ago had no real currency, had no infrastructure, had no system of
government, today they have radically transformed it into a safe, secure country.

Unknown Female: What is it about Rwanda that makes it possible for that to be
done there as opposed to many other countries in Africa?

Josh Ruxin: I think when a country comes out of the extraordinary
circumstances that Rwanda did 11 years ago, and the leadership emerges,
leadership which in President Kagame's words actually serves all, not simply
some, that type of leadership is going to fight for the poorest in the country, fight
equally strong for them as they do for the wealthiest members of society. And
that's what's making a big difference in Rwanda.

Unknown Female: The President referred to the difficulties
of being a landlocked country and having limited natural
resources. He talked about the importance of value added.
What are some of the specific areas besides coffee where
they can take advantage of value added economy?

Josh Ruxin: Rwanda is an amazing place to visit and
they've actually invested millions in their tourism
infrastructure in just the past 11 years. It's a great
place to go to visit gorillas, to go to game parks.
They've got exceptional parks in the country which have
great accommodations where people can stay. It's a safe
and secure place. It's an easy place to get to. And
that's one of the value added industries which is going to
help bring Rwanda forward and generate wealth for the
average Rwandan.

Unknown Female: Thank you.

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