online http://datedgear.com/wp-content/plugins/fancy-product-designer/inc/class-shortcode-order.php geneva;”>Kagame made the remarks on Saturday (May 18) at Oxford University, where he received the African Growth Award following his keynote speech at the 5th Oxford Africa Business Conference.
When asked about critics’ perceived lack of democracy in favor of economic growth in Rwanda, President Kagame explained that Rwanda’s transformation was a result of democracy and not at its expense:
“Is providing education to over 90 percent of Rwandan children and healthcare to over 90% of population authoritarian? How can providing food security and empowering people to feed themselves be against democracy or human rights?”
President Kagame added that his focus remains on the involvement of Rwandans:
“Whether it is human rights, democracy or good governance. It is about people. And the people of Rwanda are the ones to tell that story. My main focus is whether I am delivering what the people of Rwanda hired me to do.”
Kagame has in the past been accused of denying political space for opposition politicians and suffocating freedoms of speech and assembly, charges he denied.
The President says several initiatives such as the annual National Dialogue and citizen outreach programmes have played a pivotal role in bridging the gap between government and the people and listening to their grievances.
Pointing out that Africa is the second fastest growing region in the world with nine out of the fifteen countries with the highest rate of economic growth, President Kagame emphasized that growth in Africa is driven by the determination of Africans and well thought out policies that will ensure sustainability:
“There is no shortage of skeptics where Africa is concerned who think this growth cannot last. Equally, there are many who are convinced by the evidence that it will. Among these are those Africans, who are driving it and are resolved to maintain the momentum. The current growth is driven by structural changes within African countries, which means it can and will last. ”
President Kagame ended his keynote address by recognizing the challenges that remain as well as the importance of partnerships in ensuring Africa achieves even more:
“Many African countries are charting their own way forward, but we recognize that we need to work together and establish partnerships. African economies are growing steadily but this is only the beginning.
We need to move faster. Our people are mobilized, motivated and ready to embrace meaningful partnership to address the remaining deficits and meet their full potential.”