March 11, 2019

Uhuru Kenyatta: Rwanda Turned From a Country That Was On Its Knees To One Of The Brightest Stars

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This was speech President Uhuru Kenyatta made at Rwanda’s Leadership Retreat at the RDF Combat Training Centre in Gabiro, Gatsibo District, eastern Rwanda.

Thank you very much, dear brother, and thank you for the invitation and the opportunity to address these wonderful people. When the President told me you are meeting and having a retreat, I told him that, as a friend, a brother, and a neighbor, I would like to come and see how you people run the affairs of Rwanda. And I must say that indeed I am quite impressed, to the point that I am going to copy this.

Let me say that the relationship between our two countries is probably one of the best relations that we have, as Kenya. The things that we have been able to do together, in terms of easing movement of our people, in terms of the linkages and what we did especially in the ICT sector, telecommunications sector. We have many Kenyans living and working here in Rwanda and feeling very much at home. We have many Rwandans living and working in Kenya, really showing that we are brothers and sisters, bound at the hip.

And ours as leaders is to continue to see how we can deepen that integration. And I think, from my perspective, if we continue on the march that we are on, we have challenges — let’s not hide those away — but I am convinced that with good will and good intentions, which is what we have for our people, we will resolve even those challenges that are ahead of us. We will resolve them.

Secondly is to say that we are very proud of the manner in which Rwanda has turned around, from a country that was heavily, heavily hit, especially during the Genocide period, a country that was on its knees, to one of the brightest stars on the African continent in a very short space of time. Really showing clear direction and clarity from the top, all the way to all of you who have been part and parcel of making this Rwandan dream a reality.

Lives have changed, the progress you have made in healthcare, the progress you have made in ICT, look at Kigali today… I keep telling my brother here, that I am fighting very hard to overtake him in terms of ease of doing business, and he keeps telling me: “Do your best.”

But at the end of the day, all we are trying to do is to improve the environment for business, to improve the environment for our people, improve their living conditions, build infrastructure, connect ourselves to each other. At the end of the day, Kenya alone cannot make it, Rwanda alone cannot make it, but together we have huge and tremendous potential for growing prosperity for our people and for our countries.

So mine once again, dear brother, is to thank you for accepting my forced self-invitation, at short notice, to address these good people. But again that also shows you that the more we meet, the more we interact, we don’t need protocol and many appointments for each other, no. We should wake up in the morning and be in Nairobi and in the evening be back in Kigali. That’s the way we want it to be. And all of us feeling at home in our respective capitals.

So I wish you God’s blessings. You are closing today, so I hope you have successful deliberations, and I am hopeful and prayerful that Rwanda is in for a great year 2019.

God bless you all. Thank you very much.

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