President Kagame last week attended the 11th edition of Kwita Izina ceremony in Kinigi, Musanze District, under the theme: “Conserving now and for the future”, where 24 baby gorillas were named.
In his address, President Kagame thanked communities and partners that have played a big role in conservation efforts that have seen the Gorilla population increase significantly.
“Conservation efforts have shown that the first beneficiaries of protecting the environment are citizens. We want to be the ones leading our development and lift ourselves out of poverty. This day is about local communities being the first to benefit from resources.”
Speaking on the role that tourism has played in alleviating poverty, especially among communities bordering tourist attraction sites; President Kagame said the Government made a deliberate decision to give 5% of the revenues collected to the communities so that they can benefit directly from the resources in their backyard:
“I do not agree with those who believe that resources are a curse. Poverty is the greatest curse. We do not need to be taught what poverty is. We have lived it. We do not need to be taught that development is good for us. We are determined to be leaders of our development and to lift ourselves out of poverty.”
Calling on Musanze residents to work hard and convert the available resources into prosperity, President Kagame pointed out that Rwandans were not created to be eternally poor.
“Those who think poverty is a good thing are free to come and take it away and keep it to themselves. We are determined to do all it takes to lift ourselves out of poverty.”
The ceremony convened over 30,000 people, including 500 foreign guests representing 26 countries.
This year’s Kwita Izina events included: The Naming Ceremony, Kwita Izina Awards, Business Exhibition, Conservation forum and Launch of the Bisate Public Library in Kinigi.
On Friday, Kagame kicked off his visit to Nyanza District with a tour of Nyanza Hillside Irrigation Scheme in Rwabicuma Sector.
Completed in September 2014, the Nyanza dam and irrigation system has a capacity area of 301hectares providing water for irrigation to three sectors of Nyanza District, Rwabicuma, Nyagisozi, and Cyabakamyi.
President Kagame then met and interacted with thousands of residents at Nyanza Stadium.
In his address, President Kagame reminded them that it was only through hard work that the country will be able to attain development and solve any underlying issues;
“Our goal is to lift our country out of poverty and to achieve prosperity. Rwanda and a big part of Africa have been left behind in the last century. It is our responsibility to catch up to the rest of the world and go even further. Our achievements in the last twenty years have shown that with determination and the right mindset, it is possible to transform our nation and change lives. Our progress to date is a result of your hard work. No amount of charity can lead to progress unless it builds on your own work.”
President Kagame concluded his remarks with a message to the youth;
“You are the future. You have the opportunity to shape your future and the Rwanda of tomorrow. Number of youth in Rwanda is an opportunity not a challenge. We must invest in giving youth opportunities.”