May 20, 2018

Rwanda celebrated its 23rd Liberation Day “Kwibohora”

Mr Herbert Ndahiro, First Secretary, H.E. Jean Pierre Karabaranga and spouse Viviane Uwicyeza Mironko.

By Roy Lie A Tjam.

The Diplomatic Mission of Rwanda in The Hague under the direction of Ambassador H.E. Jean Pierre Karabaranga, organized a lunch reception at the Hilton Hotel The Hague on 4 July 2017. The occasion, to celebrate Rwanda’s 23 Liberation Day.

Ambassador Karabaranga during the speech.

A good number of Ambassador Karabaranga fellow chiefs of mission, International, and scores of well-wishers attended the celebration.

The program included a presentation by three lovely Rwandan children, a dance demonstration, a speech by Ambassador Karabaranga and a lunch-buffet.

Liberation Day or Kwibohora is celebrated annually on 4 July. This year for the 23rd time. Kwibohora marks the day the Rwandan Patriotic Army liberated Kigali, leading up to the end of the Genocide.

During his speech, Ambassador Karabaranga said: Indeed, on the 4th of July in 1994, the darkest chapter in our history was brought to a close, and a new life could begin. We have come far enough, these past twenty-three years, to allow ourselves a moment of sober satisfaction, as we recommit to the journey ahead.

On 4th of July every year Rwandans stand together as a people united, liberated and focused as never before on attaining the future we want. Now that the foundation is firmly laid, we honour our citizen’s individual and collective duty to keep propelling Rwanda forward.

In the aftermath of the genocide, Rwandans made three important choices – to stay together, to be accountable and to think big. These decisions have been at the core of the country’s ongoing renewal and efforts to overcome seemingly insurmountable challenges. Kwibohora23 – Liberation Day 2017 is an opportunity to share this story and learn about Rwanda’s vision for a peaceful, prosperous and self-reliant nation.

He added: The liberation of Rwanda was never handed to us on a silver or gold plate: it required enormous sacrifice including many people’s lives. On this date we pay tribute to Rwandan men and women who in different ways contributed to our country’s liberation. The fallen heroes paid the ultimate price during the liberation struggle. Armed with unbreakable conviction to change the unbearable situation of Rwandans, these ordinary men and women were able to do extraordinary acts. Today we pay a special tribute to them. Their blood was not shed in vain.

Kwibohora is an opportunity to recount Rwanda’s liberation story, it’s a day of unity and reconciliation.

Kwibohora is a time to reflect and also to celebrate and move towards a prosperous future.

Ambassador Karabaranga, finished his speech by saying:

The achievements we have recorded in the political and socio-economic development are beyond what any of us would have imagined in the aftermath of the genocide against the Tutsi.

Who would have imagined Kigali with such amazing skyscrapers and beautiful paved roads? What about the strides we have made in education? Between 1962 and 1994, Rwanda produced less than 1,000 undergraduates and the total enrolment in university was 2,160 students.

In the last 21 years, our kids are enjoying a universal primary and secondary education and 76,000 Rwandans are doing their university studies. Annually, we are producing about 16,000 undergraduates.

With 64% women in parliament and having reached the gender parity in primary education, Rwanda is leading the world in promoting women and children’s rights. We have achieved universal health care and Rwandans’ life expectancy increased by 20 years in the last 23 years.

Our per capital income since 1994 has increased by about 250%, placing the country on track to become a middle-income country by year 2020. For example before the 1994 war, GDP growth rate was at 2.2% and today available data shows that the Rwandan economy recorded an average growth rate of 8.5% in last 14 years and it is projected to grow by 6.2 percent in 2017 and 6.8 percent in 2018.

Rwanda also increased the GDP per capita from less than $185 in 1994 to $844 by the end of 2016. This contributed greatly in reducing poverty levels from 78% in 1995 to 32% in 2016.

In 1994, Rwanda’s total budget was a only 50 billion Rwandans francs, nearly 100 % of it externally funded. Today, the upcoming the 2017/2018 fiscal year the national budget is valued at two trillion, ninety four billion, nine hundred and ten million, four hundred eighty thousand five hundred forty-five (Frw 2.094,910,480,545).

Rwanda will contribute and finance 66% of its national budget plus 17% of loans, making the total of 83% of the entire budget. According to the Budget Framework Paper (BPF) 2017/2018 Rwanda will pull its domestic revenue to 66% to the whole budget plus 17% of loans, making the total of 83% of national budget. The remaining 17% will come from foreign aid.

The 2017/2018 budget framework paper projects foreign direct investment to continue to increase reaching USD 307.2 million, USD 404.4 million and USD 439 million respectively in 2017, 2018 and 2019, from USD 258.9 million in 2016.

Again it is worth to note that the 2016 World Bank report ranked Rwanda among the fastest growing economies of the world, the 2nd easiest place to do business in Sub-Sahara Africa and first in the region.

To sum it up, Rwanda is no longer a case study for conflict but a model of stability, good governance and fast growing economy. Although, as Rwandans we have much to be proud of, we have no room for complacency. The journey ahead is still long and demands that we double or even triple the momentum where need be.

As we celebrate the Liberation Day, we challenge ourselves to safeguard the successes recorded while thriving to achieve more. We want stability and continuity.


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