Kigali, Rwanda-Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame has advised African countries and regional economic communities to take full responsibility for the African Union reforms process to foster urgent implementation of the bloc’s programs.
President Paul Kagame said this while speaking in Kigali today at the African Foreign Ministers’ Consultative Meeting which was held to discuss the implementation of African Union Reforms.
Using Rwanda as an example, the Rwandese leader said it took Rwanda a critical thinking to change the mindset from one of reliance to ownership and independence for the country to overcome the misery after the 1994 genocide without waiting for external assistance.
“Having resolved to change our circumstances two things became very important, as we struggled to turn aspirations of the new Rwanda into reality. The first was to overcome the mindset of sitting back and waiting for rescue,” he said in a video posted on his Youtube account.
“Doing so involved becoming aware of the substantial means we already had both in our soil and much more importantly in our people. With these resources we found that we had more than enough to get started,” the President said.
He added that “If the mentality was to look for stumbling blocks, you would surely find lots of them and the end result is that goals are not accomplished. Instead of finding reasons to do nothing, look for what should compel us to act,” the Head of State told the foreign affairs ministers.
“The decision and the decisive factor here was changing our mindset from dependence to ownership and from we ‘can’t’ to ‘we can. That is an asset that cannot be imported,” Kagame added, referring to the mindset that characterized Rwanda’s transformation.
Among the African union reforms is a decision to reduce donor dependence in funding the organisation’s budget. At the moment, over 80 per cent of the union’s budget is sourced from donations which experts say has often seen the body compromise on its priorities.
Mr. Kagame said the AU has to take action now to ensure that they begin to finance their own budget without relying on external funding which he noted comes with conditions that could be unbearable for African countries.
President Kagame noted that external financing which the AU has been relying on is responsible for external interference from international donors.
The year 2017 should be considered by all member states of the AU as a year of transition from dependency to ownership of programmes and activities of the Union because no continent or country can give peace, prosperity or independence to Africa but Africa itself, he told the meeting.