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We chose to believe in Rwanda’s rebirth - Kagame

> 11 August 2015

President Paul Kagame has said the existence of new Kigali City Hall and a nearby commercial complex owned by businessman Bertin Makuza is a result of positive thinking by leaders and private business operators who believed and continue to believe that everything is possible.

The Head of State made the remarks, yesterday, while meeting with private business operators after inaugurating the two buildings in downtown Kigali.

He said had it not been the positive minds of both leaders and the businesspeople, the buildings launched yesterday could not be realised.

“The first thing in achieving transformation is to change your mindset and believe that transformation is possible. We, as leaders, chose to believe in the rebirth of our country into a nation that would be better than it has ever been. When people think positively about things, everything is possible,” Kagame said.

“Our progress is not the result of an overnight miracle. It is done by people like you,” he added.

Speaking on Rwanda’s journey in the last 21 years, President Kagame pointed to the determination of the Rwandan people to rebuild their nation.

“We had two options: to accept where we were or to demand more from ourselves. Our transformation is a message to those who attempted to destroy our nation: we survived and we will thrive.”

The new Kigali City Hall hosts the offices of both Nyarugenge District and the City of Kigali. It includes a conference hall that can accommodate 300 people, office space which will facilitate service delivery, and an exhibition room.

As for the commercial complex owned by businessman Bertin Makuza, it has been named M. Peace Plaza, a name the owner said is derived from the peace and security that serves as the foundation of his investment.

“It’s a Peace Plaza because the first investment was peace and security in the country; not money,” Makuza said.

The 15-floor M. Peace Plaza occupies 42,000 square metres.

It is one of the largest buildings in Kigali and was built at the tune of $42 million (about Rwf30.4 billion), part of the money being a loan from the International Finance Cooperation (IFC) and the GT bank. The building will include a plaza (retail part) with offices as well as 20 apartments.

Public-private partnership

During a subsequent meeting with business operators after launching both buildings, President Kagame stressed the importance of partnerships between the government and the private sector, saying both parties must demand more from themselves.

He said that even with the development achieved in the country so far, there was still more to be done and challenged the businesses to exploit the opportunities at their disposal.

“We have achieved a lot but there is still a long way to go. Our accomplishments should not make us complacent. I am demanding because I believe that we are capable of so much more,” Kagame added.

During the President’s interaction with the business operators, most speakers thanked him for his personal role in creating an enabling environment for them and requested him to stay on and lead beyond 2017 to ensure the country’s achievements are sustained.

They also raised challenges that need to be addressed by government, including building a central sewerage system for Kigali, reducing road traffic jams in certain areas such as in Nyabugogo by expanding roads, making fast Internet a compulsory public utility, and exempting import taxes on certain construction materials.

The President promised the businesses that relevant institutions in the country will addresss the issues raised.