I was in Kigali, Rwanda for the Africa Youth Connekt 2018. The Summit began with registration of delegates, the opening ceremony was a showcase of the beautiful culture of Rwandans.
The sessions were engaging and educating and I enjoyed all especially: “Connekted Girls –Transforming Africa Through the Prevention of Teenage Pregnancy”, Facing the Gorillas (Investors) and the planery sessions and of course I opened the floor for feedback on the impact of the Summit in an individual capacity.
Kigali is a beautiful city with lots of warm people. They’re a people with rich cultural heritage and they’re quick to flaunt it, from their airlines (RwandAir) to their International airport in Kigali, beautiful cultural attire (I got one for myself).
The welcome was very warm and all through my stay (St Paul Centre), I never heard any negative report from non-Rwandans who are resident in Kigali. I even met with Nigerians living and working in Rwanda and who are doing well for themselves.
They did not forget to mention that Rwandans are keen on local content. Citing an example, the Nigerian I spoke with told me that couldn’t bring all members of their “Nigerian team” to come and work in the Rwanda branch because policies support that such foreign built companies should employ locals more than foreigners. This, in my opinion is an act worthy of emulation.
Security is another great testimony from my Kigali trip. Security/Police men are positioned at random & strategic locations on roads and streets hence ensuring a crime-free environment.
I was stunned when I learnt about the Genocide because I couldn’t reconcile the Kigali I saw to the one that lost approximately 259,000 lives to a tribal war.
This spoke volumes of the power of forgiveness and grace to move on irrespective of past hurt. I saw a people genuine and true, warm and loving. I can’t help but commend the sitting President, Paul Kagame and his team for their exemplary leadership in Africa, for his engagement and empowerment of the youth which is highly commendable. If for nothing, for transforming a wounded Nation into a tourist centre. I visited the Youth Centre in Kigali, UN Clinic and sadly missed out on the visit to the Genocide centre.
I fell in love with the cultural dances and costume and generally had a swell time apart from having to adjust to their meals. I made a lot of new friends across the continent and certainly was worth all the stress and risk.
Global Peace is possible, let’s learn from Rwanda.