Young Rwandans in the Diaspora have asked to be actively involved in the ongoing national development, saying they are ready to contribute through their skills, abilities and resources.
They made the call at a three-day forum that gathered more than 700 Rwandans in the Diaspora in Montreal, Canada. The forum, International Rwanda Youth for Development, was organised by Rwandan youth groups across the world in collaboration with the government.
The inaugural forum was attended by government officials led by Francis Gatare, the chief executive of Rwanda Development Board; Francis Kaboneka, the minister for local government; and Jean Philbert Nsengimana, minister for youth and ICT. There were discussions touching topics such as the opportunities in the Rwandan economy and ways to penetrate the market, and shared success stories of emerging Rwandan enterprises.
Théophile Rwigimba, the chairperson of Rwandan Diaspora community in Canada, said the Rwandan Diaspora was impressed with the pace of national development and was looking to be actively involved in the progress being made.
“We want to see you do away with dependence attitude, and have free mind committed to fight genocide ideology and other negative tendencies from one generation to the next,” Minister Kaboneka said. He further challenged the youth to have a sense of collective reflection and responsibility on national development in the form of exchange of knowledge, transfer of skills and promoting the image and culture of the country.
He stated that the government expected the youth to stay relevant by adapting to the global changes and protecting national values and ethics, through their knowledge and skills.
Minister Nsengimana urged the youth to be self-reliant, innovative and to refrain from traits and behaviour that could reduce their productivity or taint the reputation of the nation such as drug abuse.
The government officials also reassured Rwandans living in the Diaspora that the economy was sound and steady.
According to Gatare, the economy has continued to grow steadily in recent years characterised by multiple emerging business ventures, job creation, with thousands alleviated from poverty. He said the progress had put the nation in position to achieve goals highlighted in the second Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy.
The participants also got insights on the business ecosystem in Rwanda, from young entrepreneurs who discussed the environment, support services available and the market possibilities.
Louis Antoine Muhire, the chief executive and founder of Mergims, said over the last one year, his venture had grown from a $5,000 (about Rwf3.6m) start-up to be worth over $50,000 (about Rwf36.6m).