He made the observation yesterday in Seattle, Washington during discussions held with employees from Gates Foundation after interacting with founders including magnate Bill Gates and his wife Melinda Gates.
Kagame was with First Lady Jeannette Kagame for the discussions on Achieving Impact at Scale in Africa.
He highlighted that the growth of the economy should be about the wellbeing of people and what can be done to improve their living standards and for most of them to achieve their aspirations.
Kagame explained that Rwanda’s progress rooted in putting citizens’ welfare at the center.
He pointed out an example of community-based health insurance where the country had to cultivate in people’s minds even for the category of poor people at the bottom that if they contribute even the smallest amount they can afford, ‘they own it and they feel it is theirs’.
“We have to do more with less. We have been thrust into this position because of history and geography: the tragic history we have gone through and being a small country and landlocked. There is no way you can survive if you do not innovate,” Kagame said.
The President said that it had a positive impact on reducing maternal and child mortality rates significantly as well as have hugely increased life expectancy by 20 and 21 years.
“Prioritizing is a problem for people in our situation, everything is a priority, putting priorities in order is difficult. We prioritized healthcare, we looked at ordinary people, that is where we started from,” stated Kagame.
“How do you save children and mothers and make sure that they take the next day, week and year for granted. Especially when the history has been different and people have not been sure their babies will last until five. We have reversed that,” added the President.
Kagame observed that in the next 25 years, Africa should be in a much better place than now.
He underscored that the latter will emanate from deep integration into different areas.
“In the next 25 years, Africa should be in a much better place than we are now. This will be based on how deeply we integrate, on trade, investment, sharing best practices and how we leverage the resources the continent has. The continent has a huge capacity. We have been let down by the quality of governance,” Kagame observed.
He stated that the good thing is that every leader, every country, every African is talking about what needs to be done to make this improvement which he believes is good and starting point that must be translated into action.
The World Bank figures indicate that in 2015, 41 % of the Sub-Sahara African population lived in poverty while 27 of 28 of the world poorest countries are from Sub-Saharan Africa.
Africa has developed the Agenda 2063 which encapsulates not only Africa’s Aspirations for the Future but also identifies key Flagship Programmes which can boost Africa’s economic growth and development and lead to the rapid transformation of the continent.