His Excellency Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda, met with 400 members of the Rwandan community in the UK at a get-together function in London on Tuesday 7th March 2017, on the back of the Wall Street Journal’s Inaugural Conference on “Investing In Africa”, where His Excellency was invited to speak. The Investing In Africa conference, which took place at the News Building, London Bridge, was organised to discuss technology, transition and growth, where leading investors, executives and government officials convened to discuss how technology is driving change and investment in Africa, as well as to examine the economic and political landscape in-depth.
Hundreds of Rwandans took to the streets of London, just outside of the News Building, in central London where the conference was taking place, to celebrate Rwanda and welcome His Excellency President Paul Kagame, holding up placards with an array of positive messages on Rwanda, including highlights, Rwanda’s achievements, messages of pride and praise for the good leadership. “We are proud of our country and of our President, H.E. Paul Kagame. #Agaciro”, read one of the placards, while another quoted a tweet by President Kagame that said: “Rwanda’s transformation is about everyone having a stake and believing that change is up to us.” Further to the messages, the atmosphere was electric, with many breaking out in song, dance and cheering for Rwanda.
In the News Building, answering a question on Rwanda’s secret to rapid growth, President Kagame said that the key was putting the people of Rwanda at the centre of everything, implementing policies to fit their
needs and desires. President Kagame also fielded questions from the gathered audience which touched on regional integration, regional security and investment in the youth.
Following the conference, the President arrived at the Grange Hotel St Paul’s, where he received a rousing welcome from the many Rwandans in attendance, singing, cheering and waving the blue, yellow and green flags high in the air. In a short welcome note by the MC, Appolinaire Kageruka, Chairman of the National Association of Rwandese Communities in UK (NARC), he said that Rwandans in the UK are proud of Rwanda’s achievements and are proud to contribute and associate with these achievements, pledging for continued support of the Rwandans in the UK. The High Commissioner for the Republic of Rwanda to the UK, Amb. Yamina Karitanyi, called on all guests to continue being active citizens, celebrating Rwanda’s achievements. High Commissioner Karitanyi also expressed, on behalf of all the guests in attendance, her thanks to His Excellency the President for taking the time out of his busy schedule to make a surprise visit to meet with the Rwandan Diaspora, on what is a very short visit to London.
Another roaring cheer erupted as His Excellency the President took to the stage to address the Diaspora. President Kagame opened with his own thanks to the Rwandans in UK – “Thank You for carrying Rwanda everywhere you go and for your support to Rwanda’s development”. The President continued with words of encouragement to the diaspora community, saying that meeting with the Rwandese Community renews our strength and makes our challenges seem easier to overcome. On the decision to make an impromptu visit where the Rwandans in U.K. gathered, President Kagame said: “I could not have left without seeing you all and greeting you.” His Excellency Kagame’s message was focused on unity and identity, as he closed by saying “Rwanda today is a united one where those with strength give a hand up to the weaker ones. That is our culture and that is who we are.”
Amongst the President’s delegation were Honourable Minister Francois Kanimba, Minister of Trade, Industry and East African Community Affairs and Ms. Clare Akamanzi, CEO of the Rwanda Development Board, who both also briefly addressed the guests and shared some of the latest developments that have taken place in Rwanda.
The evening concluded much like it began – in an atmosphere of celebration amongst men, women and youth from various cities in the UK.