00:00:00 IGIHE NETWORK KINYARWANDA ENGLISH FRANCAIS

We seem to be turning a corner on the pandemic despite obstacles – Kagame

By IGIHE
On 2 October 2021 at 09:11

President Paul Kagame has stressed the need for cooperation rooted on mutual respect to address emerging global challenges.

Kagame was speaking at the 14th World Policy Conference in Abu Dhabi, the capital of United Arab Emirates on 1st October 2021.

The conference is organized by Swiss foundation known as ‘WPC Foundation’. This international conference acts as a forum for discussion and reflection about the global economy and international relations.

Kagame is among participants of the conference scheduled from 1st to 3rd October 2021.

As he delivered remarks, the President reminisced on unprecedented effects brought by COVID-19 pandemic which exposed weaknesses in both the national and global systems ‘that have been there all along’.

He highlighted that these weaknesses includes insufficiencies in both public health and governance.

Kagame said that the crisis has also revealed economic and power imbalances within the international community where African countries have been lagging behind in vaccine supplies while rich countries hoard vaccines.

Despite encountered obstacles and inequitable vaccine distribution, the President observed that there is a progress whereby access to vaccines has begun to increase, both through donations and purchase of vaccine doses.

He pointed out an example of Rwanda where the country has administered more than 2 million doses with 90% of residents of cities, especially Kigali, having received a dose.

“We see also cooperating with various commercial and development partners to launch an ambitious program to manufacture vaccines and other pharmaceuticals for the African market, beginning next year. So, even though things could have been better, we do appreciate the good cooperation that has been there,” he said.

Apart from cooperation in vaccine manufacturing, Kagame said that another area of good partnerships that can produce results is in the fight against insecurity, terrorism and extremist ideologies including genocide ideology.

He pointed out an example of Rwanda’s engagement in peacekeeping and peacebuilding missions in Africa.

“Islamist insurgents are now on the run in northern Mozambique in the province of Cabo Delgado, because of a good program of cooperation between Rwanda’s Defence Forces, and those of Mozambique and the region,” he said.

“Similarly, our commitment to the Central African Republic, which is both bilateral and multilateral, through the United Nations, aims to create the space for the country to chart its own path to political reconciliation, peacefully,” added Kagame.

The President highlighted that the next step is to consolidate the gains and focus on providing services and guaranteeing rights for citizens.

“These are just two examples that might link to some of the themes under discussion at this event,” he noted.

Full speech

World Policy Conference | Remarks by President Kagame | Abu Dhabi, 1 October 2021

• Dr. Thierry de Montbrial, Founder and Chairman of the World Policy Conference

• Excellencies

• Honourable Ministers and Senior Government Officials

• Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen

I am happy to be back to the World Policy Conference, and I wish to thank Thierry de Montbrial for the invitation to join you here in Abu Dhabi.

The past two years have been particularly consequential.

The Covid pandemic is unprecedented, but it has exposed weaknesses, in both the national and global systems, that have been there all along.

This includes insufficiencies in both public health and governance.

The crisis has also revealed, quite starkly, the economic and power imbalances within the international community.

While major powers work to contain and constrain each other, Africa is at the receiving end, in all senses.

That means, of course, that when vaccine supplies are scarce, Africa is last in line to get doses.

Africa is also, almost as an afterthought, attacked for all sorts of things, in the name of so many things including democracy, human rights, as if these concepts or values are totally foreign to Africa.

You could say that one function of Africa in international relations, is to serve as a foil for the importance of universal values, precisely because so many states outside of Africa continue to fall short themselves.

The unspoken assumption is that only rich countries and their political elites have interests.

Poor countries should allow their interests to be looked after by others.

The rights and well-being of ordinary people are completely forgotten.

We cannot talk about a theoretical democracy that is not built on what the actual citizens of that place desire for themselves, their families, and their societies.

That’s the confusion, in some cases, for example, of contemporary liberal democracy with its singular emphasis on individual freedoms, identities, and desires, even at the expense of the common good.

This is not to say that there are no serious shortcomings in Africa, like elsewhere there is a lot to address in Africa. That is not the point at all.

But the double standards and hypocrisy that consistently applied to Africa, show that something else is going on.

However, where the main global players have stuck to certain principles, things can and do work.

We seem to be turning a corner on the pandemic, despite obstacles.

For example, COVAX was supposed to be a solution to assist low-income countries to get access to vaccines and therapies.

But Covax could not compete with wealthy countries for supply, and we saw examples of hoarding. In actual fact, the rich countries are the ones who were offering vaccine doses through COVAX.

To add insult to injury, we now see some travel restrictions based on where people were vaccinated, even though the vaccines themselves are exactly the same. So we have now an issue of where you’re vaccinated, something else that’s about to come or is slowly coming is; what type of vaccine.

Despite this, there is progress.

Access to vaccines has begun to increase, both through donations and doses we purchase for ourselves.

In Rwanda, we have administered more than 2 million doses, and 90% of residents of cities, especially the capital, Kigali, have received a dose.

We see also cooperating with various commercial and development partners to launch an ambitious program to manufacture vaccines and other pharmaceuticals for the African market, beginning next year.

So, even though things could have been better, we do appreciate the good cooperation that has been there.

Another area where good partnerships can produce results is in the fight against insecurity, terrorism, extremist ideologies, including genocide ideology.

There are cross-border challenges that require close cooperation.

Rwanda’s engagement in peacekeeping and peacebuilding missions in Africa falls under this rubric.

Islamist insurgents are now on the run in northern Mozambique in the province of Cabo Delgado, because of a good program of cooperation between Rwanda’s Defence Forces, and those of Mozambique and the region.

Similarly, our commitment to the Central African Republic, which is both bilateral and multilateral, through the United Nations, aims to create the space for the country to chart its own path to political reconciliation, peacefully.

The next step is to consolidate the gains and focus on providing services and guaranteeing rights for citizens.

These are just two examples that might link to some of the themes under discussion at this event.

Once again, I thank the World Policy Conference for this wonderful evening and opportunity. And thank you all for your kind attention and interest.

I look forward to our discussions to take place immediately.

Thank you.

President Paul Kagame has said that COVID-19 pandemic exposed weaknesses in both the national and global systems.

Advertisement

YOUR OPINION ABOUT THIS ARTICLE

RULES AND REGULATIONS
Kwamamaza