Rwandan President Paul Kagame says his country will not be sucked into Burundi’s provocation adding that doing so would be giving them what they want.
The Head of State is quoted to have told journalists at the sidelines of the 2018 National Dialogue (Umushyikirano w’Igihugu), which attracted more than 2000 Rwandans who met to discuss how the country’s resolutions for the ending year were implemented and make resolutions of what needs to be done in the following year.
“We have had all kinds of provocation from Burundi and we have not fallen for that. We have not been sucked into these provocations because that would be giving them what they want, to prove their point that they have no other problem except Rwanda,” President Kagame said.
Mr. Kagame also noted that the much-preached regional integration can only work if people put words into action and work for the benefit of the region and not just their own.
“For Rwanda to join the East African community was our choice but it was also our right. It was not anyone doing us a favour. When we joined the EAC we had not been kneeling down, bowing to people to give us this great favor. Any integration effort requires give and take. Every country has its own sovereignty but when you choose integration, you understand that some of it will be ceded. People come together and create something that is bigger than just the sovereignty of each entity,” he said.
The challenges notwithstanding, President Kagame said that overall, the country was on the right track of development as citizens continue to work together for mutual interests.
“We are on the right track and what we have gone through so far shows us that we have the will and strength to do more to fast-track our country’s development,” Kagame said.
Highlighting Rwanda’s role in nurturing good international relations across Africa, the President said that many good things have been achieved across the continent.
This year, Rwanda has been central in driving the continent’s diplomacy and trade, especially through the chairmanship of the African Union.
Some of the achievements under President Kagame’s AU chairmanship include driving the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which was signed in Kigali in March this year.
The AfCFTA is expected to create a single market of 55 African countries, with a market of 1.2 billion people.
With Africa’s population set to reach 2.5 billion by 2050, which represents 26 per cent of the global working age population, the AfCFTA deal could potentially turn Africa into the world’s largest free trade area.
Kagame called on leaders and citizens to continue being united, urging them to think big and be accountable to themselves and each other.
“Think big, think beyond you as an individual. We have to work in a way where you feel accountable that if you do not do your job well, it will have consequences beyond yourself. You have to hold yourself and each other accountable,” Kagame said.