He delivered these remarks at the celebration of YouthConnect’s 10-year anniversary at Intare Arena in Rusororo.
The event brought together thousands of young Rwandan leaders, entrepreneurs, and innovators to engage in opportunities for socioeconomic transformation, while showcasing their accomplishments and addressing challenges.
The Head of State emphasized that Rwandans and Africans are akin to other global citizens, where foreign powers should not have the authority to control them.
"There are powerful and affluent nations that impose their ways upon others, which raises questions, as no person created another. Regardless of whether you hail from America, China, India, Russia, Europe, or elsewhere, no one is the creator of another. From this standpoint, it’s evident that people should coexist with mutual respect," he observed.
The President encouraged the youth to devise solutions and cultivate positive mindsets if they are to achieve the desired self-worth.
"Individuals strive for self-respect. You should think in a manner that acknowledges your humanity and capacity, albeit with limitations, just as other individuals also possess limitations in their capabilities," he highlighted.
Kagame asserted that considering individual contributions collectively would have a positive impact, ensuring the continent is not perceived as lagging behind. He also reminded the youth to play their roles as early as possible to make significant strides towards desired progress and meaningful contribution to national development.
"Young people, in everything you do, ask yourself why Rwanda and Africa are still lagging behind in terms of development when other parts of the world have managed to move ahead. In whatever you do, ask yourself what you can contribute toward solving that problem. There is no early time or young age for you to not think about the future and what you can do about it,” stated Kagame.
The President also motivated young individuals to dispel any pessimistic thoughts or feelings of hopelessness and self-underestimation.
“No, you are capable, just give it a try, even if it fails you will have tried. Have that heart that wants to try to do something and succeed, you will fail in some cases but if you fail, try something else, you will succeed," he advised.
Themed "10 Years of Impact," this anniversary highlighted the multitude of achievements by YouthConnekt, which includes the establishment of over 30,000 jobs and the provision of support to over 2,000 youth-led enterprises with skills in business development, mentorship, funding, and more.
YouthConnekt Rwanda is the result of an effective partnership between the Rwandan government, the youth, and development partners such as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Imbuto Foundation, MTN, KOICA Rwanda, the European Union, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), UN Women, World Health Organization (WHO), MasterCard Foundation, Airtel Rwanda, Bank of Kigali and BPR, among others.