Kagame made the revelation today as he participated in a conversation with the Founder of African Leadership Group, Fred Swaniker and students from different universities in Rwanda.
As he featured in the talk show dubbed ‘In The Room’ initiated by Swaniker , Kagame responded different questions.
Fred Swaniker asked Kagame why he chooses to do hard things which many people fear to confront, pointing out an example of Rwanda’s plan to manufacture vaccines.
Kagame told him that complicated work can be done depending on one’s approaches.
The President said that it has never been part of his plans to dodge hard things.
He went on explaining that, sometimes, hard things result from the combination of simple things achieved at different times that adds up to the situations that require doing hard things.
“You can make the work of doing hard things much easier by paying attention to the simple smaller things on time. […] the pathway can be very simple or difficult depending on the way you paid attention to the simple and hard things,” he said.
Swaniker asked Kagame to give an example of something which started small but currently perceived as a great achievement.
The President pointed out an example of Kigali City saying it has undergone huge transformations compared to its situation in the past 20 years ago.
These include infrastructure development, maintaining high standard of hygiene and red lights among others.
Kagame said that the journey started 20 years ago by doing what is within the country’s means with utmost efficiency .
The President recalled the time when he spoke to cabinet members when the countrywide initiative to maintain cleanliness began.
As he explained, Kagame asked them if the country would require donors to maintain hygiene and pushed forward the idea to dump garbage in the right place.
The President stressed that there are works within people’s capacity that can be done without external support.
“Sometimes when that exercise started, I would be driving in the city. When I saw the litter around, plastic bags, papers from all over; I would literary go and stop my car, convoy, and that also tended to stop the traffic. […] I would get out with my escort guards who are paid to do different things […] we would pick that litter around and say, why would I pass and leave that litter?” he said.
“That has an effect even starting with my entourage. They started thinking ‘well, we shouldn’t leave these things here’. First of all, why do people go throwing litter around? And the same time, the traffic that has come to your halt start saying, what is wrong with him. When they have seen you do that, they start thinking about it and say ‘why would the president stop and do this’. Then you say, I should also take note and do the same. These are simple things. You don’t need to pay a lot of money, you don’t need to be paid a lot of money to do that,” added Kagame.
Kigali is among cleanest cities in the world. Recently in August 2021, the Skytrax World Airport, the coveted quality accolades for airports across the world, and a global benchmark of excellence ranked Kigali International Airport among the best and cleanest airports in East African Community (EAC) and Africa for 2021.
It was ranked 8th best airport in EAC and 7th cleanest on the continent.