Kagame: We can’t afford to undo the gains made in fighting CovidLeave a comment / By: manifel / 23 December, 2020 11:52:50AM
President Paul Kagame commended the resilience of Rwandans in their response to the Covid-19 outbreak, saying that without it, the country would not have made the commendable strides towards keeping the population relatively safe.
During the annual State of the Nation Address, which he delivered virtually due to the measures in place to contain the virus, the President attributed this to the existing trust between the citizenry and the leadership.
“Rwandans responded to the challenge, and so did our institutions. We have to get used to living with this pandemic as it is still here as we keep on fighting for our lives to continue,” Kagame said.
Kagame added that the pandemic has put to test the investments the country has been making over the years.
“[They] magnified the natural resilience of our people, and helped mitigate the negative impacts of the pandemic,” Kagame said, during the address that was carried live on state television and followed by citizens from different sites across the country.
Delegates follow President Kagame’s remarks during the annual state of the nation address on Monday, December 21. Photo: Village Urugwiro.
Calling for individual responsibility in the fight against the virus, Kagame urged Rwandans not to waste efforts that have been put into fighting the pandemic.
“It is not time to relax. It is time to protect our gains and strive for what we want to achieve, and continue to make progress.”
Ahead of the festive season, the President urged families to avoid congregating, saying that it could reverse the gains made out of the sacrifices that Rwandans have made this year.
“But without those sacrifices, it will end up costing us much more. Together, we will recover and return to the journey of growth and continue expanding the well-being of all our families.”
Rwanda has been commended for her efforts in keeping the virus at bay. However, recent statistics show a spike not only in daily cases registered, but also the number of deaths.
As of Monday, December 21, the country had registered 7,293 cases and 63 deaths, with the latest spike attributed to laxity in observing measures in place to keep the virus at bay.
State of the nation
Meanwhile, President Kagame said that the country, despite the difficult times caused by the Covid-19 outbreak, made progress on different indicators during the previous year.
He said that the country’s Gross Domestic Product, which declined in the second quarter, rebounded in the following quarter, adding that the country had reactivated the critical sectors of the economy, including tourism, MICE, and cross-border trade.
In the area of doing business, Kagame said that the country, over the past year, registered investments worth over $1.2 billion, which are expected to employ over 22,000 people.
Regarding security, the Head of State said that the country was on good footing, and said that they continue working with neighbouring states to safeguard the country’s borders.
“There are still some issues but in general, security across the country is assured. Amongst the issues we still face, there is that one in Southern Province at our border with a brotherly nation, Burundi,” he said. He added that there is engagement to resolve these issues.
Militia groups that previously attacked villages in Rwanda’s South-Western region are said to have come from Burundi.
Other gains he said were made in the health sector, where three state-of-the-art hospitals were built in the districts of Nyarugenge, Nyagatare and Gakenke, while an emergency heart treatment facility has been set up in the country.
“We have also invested a lot of resources in upgrading King Faisal Hospital, looking for doctors with skills in treating different kinds of illnesses and having a highly knowledgeable personnel,” he said.
Other areas he highlighted included agriculture, social protection, education and infrastructure among others.
The state of the nation address ordinarily coincides with the National Dialogue Meeting, popularly known as Umushyikirano, which did not take place this year.
Using his twitter handle, President Kagame said that there was need to keep people safe, which made it impossible for the meeting to take place in a physical set-up.
“Thanks to technology, we were able to have a virtual interaction this afternoon with citizens across the country and the press. It was an opportunity to highlight important issues and to thank all Rwandans for your dedication and resilience in tackling domestic and global challenges,” he said.
In addition to journalists, citizen representatives were gathered at different sites including Nyaruguru, Kirehe, Karongi, Gicumbi and in the City of Kigali, and were able to interact with the head of state on different topics.
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