Innovative youth key to poverty fight, Kagame says

Tuesday December 13 2011

By Harriet Anena


Africa needs innovative youth if the continent’s perpetual poverty is to be overcome, Rwandan President Paul Kagame has said.

Speaking at the third annual Young Achievers Awards ceremony in Kampala on Sunday, Mr Kagame said youth with entrepreneurial minds will ensure Africa’s development. He said the youth should change “the mentality that has crippled us” because of thinking that “we can’t do things on our own”.

Mr Kagame, who was given the lifetime achievement award “in recognition of his exemplary leadership and youth empowerment,” said Africa’s development, including the East African integration, can only be realised if the youth actively participate in political and economic processes.

“If you are ambitious and proactive, you can achieve in the face of overwhelming challenges,” Mr Kagame said, adding that despite the global economic crisis, East Africa is still the preferred destination for investment.

Awarding excellence
Mr Kagame added: “Real innovators reject business as usual but have the courage to go beyond the conventional method of doing things.” Meanwhile, President Museveni said the youth in Africa should emulate President Kagame, who during his youth, “took the route of seriousness”. He said Rwanda has progressed because the country has youth with right ideas. “A country that has youth with wrong ideas is doomed,” Mr Museveni said. He applauded the awards organisers for recognising excellence and innovation.

Mr Nelson Tugume emerged overall winner of the Young Achievers Awards, 2011. The CEO of Inspire Africa, a human development organisation, was recognised for promoting entrepreneurship among the youth by identifying the best business minds and giving them logistical assistance.