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Rwandan President Paul Kagame during his visit to Istanbul

Rwandan President Paul Kagame has highlighted the transformational role of ICTs during a visit to Turkey. 

President Kagame was speaking during an official visit, during which he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in International Relations from Fatih University in Istanbul.

The citation read during the ceremony, commended President Kagame for his active role in promoting peace and development internationally and for leading the reconstruction and transformation of Rwanda.

President Kagame said that ongoing changes around the world offered opportunities to influence the direction of change in order to maximise its benefits to humankind.

 “To manage and influence change in a collectively beneficial manner, leaders need long-term vision, an understanding of their society’s situation and the ability to motivate their people to keep working for prosperity and peace.”

President Kagame said that people of modern Turkey understood this because they had had visionary leaders going back to Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, and that the transformation of their country was testament to this leadership. He pointed out that in Rwanda, leaders and citizens are working together to transform their country in order to attain higher standards of living and that collaboration with institutions such as Fatih university will ensure that results are achieved faster.

President Kagame said that the global economic crisis had proven the extent of dependency between nations – even the most developed economies and shown that global issues can only be solved collectively. Referring to recent political crises in parts of the world including North Africa and the Middle East, President Kagame said;

“It has been made clear that a detached leadership cannot be successful. Citizens have the right to participate in national affairs – this cannot be denied them with insincere excuses – some term these excuses “domestic matters” or “national sovereignty”. Developments like these concern us all – today’s reality is that we all are our brother’s keeper.”

President Kagame spoke about the revolutionary impact of ICT on social and international relations and in particular, the use of social media:

“ICT has altered the balance of power within societies and between nations by democratising information and knowledge. Ordinary citizens now have more influence and power than they have ever had before. Nations that recognise and harness the power of new technology will be the leaders in the 21st Century. Equally, leaders that can take advantage of this power will propel their countries to a higher level of development.”

President Kagame concluded by highlighting power of the private sector to drive economic and social transformation: “Rwanda values innovation, entrepreneurship and partnership in raising the living standards of our people because our mission - indeed that of any committed leadership – is to get them to be better off tomorrow than what they are today.” 

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