Kagame made the comment today in a press conference that followed a tête-à-tête meeting with his counterpart of Namibia, Hage Gottfried Geingob.
President Paul Kagame and First Lady Jeannette Kagame arrived in Namibia yesterday for a three-day state visit aimed at promoting bilateral relations.
Upon arrival to Windhoek, the capital city of Namibia; they were welcomed by the President Namibia and First Lady Monica Geingos.
As he addressed the press, Kagame said that Rwanda is among countries that had lots of problems because of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi which took lives of over 1 million victims in 100 days.
“The tragedy that befell my country 25 years ago, that is the story that is known all over the world. Unfortunately, we are more known for that than better things that have happened thereafter,” he observed.
“I can confidently say that the people of my country are working very hard to improve their lives. They are happy with what they have whether in terms of their leaders or working together or making a difference for themselves between 25 years ago and now,” added Kagame.
The President highlighted that he has been dealing with different problems including the reduction of poverty levels.
“We have been reducing levels of poverty very fast in actual fact, so it is helping us to resolve those other issues that people talk about. The growth of our economy is real, it is felt by the people of our country, it originates with them, they are the ones who toil and put in hard work every day,” he said.
Kagame pointed out an example of how agriculture has grown in terms of food security levels where people became able to feed themselves which was never the case before.
Growth in agriculture started about 12 years ago.
The President stressed: “We had never had growth before then. It is not just growth by numbers, it is growth that is felt in a farmers’ pocket, how they are able to feed themselves and what they produce.”
“ We make progress not to be credited for it. We make progress for ourselves. Instead of having speculations reach you if you are in a place if you see and hear from people directly then you are able to answer questions arising from speculations,” he added.
It is against this background that Kagame said it is easy to measure the impact of some of the aspects of Rwanda’s growth.
“You can’t cook these numbers. If you are able to do that and everybody else that deals with you in scrutinizing these numbers then there is a problem in the world and not just Rwanda,” he said.
Recently, British financial magazine, Financial Times reported that poverty figures in Rwanda are manipulated to maintain a good reputation.
The Financial Times claimed to have conducted an analysis of the survey’s more than 14,000 data points and interviews with academics show that rising prices for Rwandan families meant poverty most likely increased between 2010 and 2014.
The analysis of the National Institute of Statistics (NISR) on findings of the 4th Integrated Household Living Conditions Survey (EICV4) and (EICV3) indicated that poverty reduced by 6.9% between 2011 and 2014.
The FT analysis of the same data contradicts that finding, suggesting there has been a consistent attempt to misrepresent the results.
According to the Financial Times (FT) calculations, it is only possible to show a poverty decline of 6.9 percentage points if the mean value of the NISR’s cost of living index was 4.7 percent.
The Financial Times explained that poverty could only have fallen by such a large margin if average prices for the poorest 40 percent of households increased by 4.7 percent or less between January 2011 and January 2014.
President Kagame has explained that everyone who wants to be the authority rush to get information from the internet yet there must be a selection of hat real or not.
“The internet is not the best place to find the truth. There is some good information but you have to make a selection of what is real and what is not real. If we cooked numbers we would be cheating ourselves not anybody else. Those writing stories about us are not people we want to please or satisfy. We want to satisfy ourselves,” he said.
“It originates from the stereotypes that Africans can do fine, they must be doing things that must be validated from the outside. We don’t want to be validated, we want to do things that are good for us not just to please others,” highlighted Kagame.