President Paul Kagame on Wednesday told an audience in Abu Dhabi that the tough struggles he and all Rwandans have endured is the driving force that made the perpetrators and genocide survivors to live together.
“I grew up in a refugee camp where I spent over 20yrs like many other Rwandans,” said Kagame in a one-on-one conversation with chairperson of Milken Institute, Mike Milken, adding, “We grew up with hardships, and questions and feelings about how to resolve it.”
The head of state is in the gulf nation where he is attending The Milken East and North Africa Summit.
U.S financier and philanthropist Michael Milken established Milken Institute as a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank determined to increase global prosperity by advancing collaborative solutions that widen access to capital, create jobs and improve health.
President Kagame is a regular guest at the annual Milken event.
During the one-on-one, Michael Milken tackled a range of issues including Rwanda’s push for reconciliation following the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi.
In part, Kagame responded: “If you have struggled, fought wars of liberation, the question you are faced with is what do you do to create a situation you wanted all along that can give everyone a good life.”
Kagame was also asked to take the audience through his year as chair of the African Union where a range of radical measures have been adopted and implemented.
“At AU level, we started by saying if we held Africa together, tried the best we can and make these borders that divide 55 countries irrelevant, beginning with trade, free movement of people and goods across borders, we can transform our economies,” said Kagame.
He said one of Africa’s biggest challenge is being rich and poor at the same time.
“We need to invest in our people, even countries with natural resources, it will come to waste if they don’t invest in their people,” he said.
“If our young people are educated and they have their health then they are able to do what anyone else can do. You find them in different parts of the world doing exactly what is needed in Africa.”