Over 2000 Rwandans from across Europe gathered in Ghent, Belgium on Saturday for Rwanda Day. Addressing participants, President Kagame called on Rwandans to work hard for self-reliance because the time of depending on others is coming to an end.
“When other nations are putting their interests first, why don't you ask why they ever had an interest in you to begin with? We learned long ago that we can only rely on ourselves when we had to rescue ourselves. Self-reliance does not mean no cooperation; you have to work with others, trade with each other, put your strengths together.”
Kagame told the gathering that Rwanda of today was one that gives all Rwandans equal opportunities, with the understanding that challenges facing the country do not discriminate.
“The Rwanda of today is founded on our common identity as one people. The Rwanda of today does not discriminate, values the contribution of every Rwandan and cooperates with nations in Africa and beyond,” he said. “Today, Rwanda is a dignified nation not just recognized in the region, but also across the world. Our achievements are founded on our unity, all Rwandans are equal irrespective of where they are from or who they are. Our history has taught us the lesson that our past should not be our future. We are writing a new destiny for our nation, one based on unity, hard work, truth and self-reliance.”
The President reminded the Rwandans gathered in Ghent that living abroad does not mean forgetting their home, because they can use what they gain to improve their nation from where they are thereby creating an extended nation. He pointed out that Rwandans living in Rwanda and those living abroad can complete each other, and become a Rwanda that goes beyond our borders.
Concerning cooperation between Africa and the rest of the world, especially Europe, Kagame pointed out that Africa and Europe are not threats to each other, but can complement each other because, he said, a prosperous Africa means a prosperous Europe.
The President Kagame later interacted with participants who asked questions and also presented appreciation and suggestions concerning Rwanda’s transformation.
Commenting on Rwanda Day, Rwanda’s Ambassador to Belgium, Olivier Nduhungirehe, pointed out that the gathering serves as a time to reconnect with Rwanda’s history, learn about the Rwanda of today and be an integral part of defining the country’s future.
“As Rwandans gather in Belgium, from near and far, we recognise the progress made; but most importantly, we gather to renew our commitment and redouble our efforts to building a prosperous nation,” Nduhungirehe said.
Rwanda Day Belgium was also an opportunity for Rwandan businesspeople to showcase locally produced goods and service and connect the community abroad with the ‘Made in Rwanda’ campaign.
Young professionals and entrepreneurs from Rwanda and abroad discussed the country’s development goals, business environment and opportunities available for those wanting to be part of a country on the move.
Past events held in San Francisco, Amsterdam, Dallas, Atlanta, Toronto, London, Boston, Paris, Chicago and Brussels have also attracted thousands of Rwandans who expressed their commitment to the country’s socio-economic transformation.
Relive Rwanda Day in Ghent: