The speech of Kagame yesterday, while swearing in for third term, would serve as an answer to recent French president Macron’s one claiming Africa is held back by “civilisational” problems where women having “seven or eight children” are hampering development in African nations. But Kagame says, “Africa has no civilizational problems, only assets. Sans aucun doute”.
While speaking at the G20 summit, the French President was asked about the possibility of implementing a policy in the continent like America’s Marshall Plan for rebuilding Europe after the Second World War.
“The problems Africa face today are completely different … and are ‘civilisational’,” Mr Macron told a reporter from former French colony Ivory Coast. “What are the problems? Failed states, complex democratic transitions and extremely difficult demographic transitions.”
This has been criticised and said was ‘racist’. For some Africans, this is a big choc, like shaking a knife in one’s heart. The so-called ‘civilisation’ was brought by Europeans, during their industrial revolution, where they harvested minerals and woods from Africa to Europe. Some Africans are grand children to former slaves, who used to working in mines, and plantations (of tea, coffee, sugar cane)almost payless, but with harassment.
According to Kagame, “Africa has no civilizational problems, only assets. Sans aucun doute”. The swearing ceremony, maybe was an occasion for Kagame to put light over civilization concept.
He said, “Over centuries of adversity, our civilisation sustained us. Today it endows us with ambition, compassion, and creativity. Without exception, there is infinitely more that unites us, as Africans, than divides us.
It is important for Rwandans and our fellow Africans to feel reassured that attacks on our character only make us stronger, provided we respond with clarity and conviction.
Our experience is that we will be vilified anyway, no matter what. So we might as well do what we know is right for our people, because the results are much better, and the costs are much lower.
Those who are worried about our welfare should feel at ease. We are the best students of our own shortcomings. Much as we have lost a lot of time, more recently we see that it is no longer business as usual in Africa.
There is really no justification for all the effort that goes into cutting Africa off from itself, as if sharing lessons and experiences with one another might be harmful, without adult supervision.
There is no single model for nation-building. At the root of any success are good choices, built on a mindset which can be summarised in three words: Do It Yourself.
That is what we have done in Rwanda, and it is all any country needs to do to bring everyone together to chart a path into the future.
To that end, we in Rwanda will continue to be firm believers in real partnership and cooperation with friends around the world, which has benefited us a great deal and which we deeply appreciate”.
Civilization is the set of traits that characterize the state of a given society from the technical, intellectual, political and moral point of view, without making any assumptional judgments.
Though, any society has its civilization, be it “primitive or modern”, but it has, in the chronological sense, without pejorative connotation.
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Jean Baptiste Karegeya
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