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2024 Global Security Forum: Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame highlights unity and development strategies

By Ndabateze Jean Bosco

In a virtual participation at the 2024 Global Security Forum, Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame emphasised unity, development, and Rwanda’s strategic growth while reflecting on the country’s tragic past and urging balanced foreign involvement.

Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame provided an overview of his country’s development strategies while looking back at its tragic past on Tuesday during his virtual participation at the Global Security Forum in Doha.

The panel, moderated by Al Jazeera’s Steve Clemons, started by highlighting the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, one of the worst to occur in the world. 

President Kagame said that genocide never gets distant in the past

Kagame said that the genocide “never gets distant in the past” despite the passing of three decades since it occurred. The country has also been discovering new mass graves 30 years on, including one discovered last October.

“Society has been healing and I think it’s, in my view, something we didn’t even expect that it would grow this fast. We’ve been working together, trying to bring the country back together,” he said.

The Rwandan president noted that while society has been divided in the country, it has “been reversed.”

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“We try to build unity and it is happening, it is something that is also benefiting and [beneficial] for the young generation,” he added, stressing that his country will not allow the repetition of the past.

Rwanda has been developing to become a key trade and economic hub in Africa with increased partnerships between major companies and entities. This includes Qatar Airways, which had signed a “milestone” codeshare agreement with RwandAir in 2021.

Between 2022 and 2023, both sides operated around 156 flights between Doha and Kigali. During the same period, the airline witnessed a 10 percent month-on-month growth, resulting in more than QAR 7 million (around $2 million) in revenues.

Work is underway to establish the Bugesera International Airport, set to be completed between 2027 and 2028 after the construction started in 2017. Qatar Airways is also interested in investing in the project.

Kagame said that Rwanda’s developmental roadmap is based on Kigali’s unity.

“The foundation in this case for us is unity and we are building on that foundation by investing in people and investing in human capital,” he said.

Foreign involvement and interest in Rwanda were among the points the panel with Kagame tapped into. He noted that Rwanda learned “a lot of lessons” from the past. 

Commenting on the competition between the United States and China, he stressed that Rwanda and Africa cannot be “crushed” in this issue while opening the invitation to both countries to invest in Rwanda.

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