President Irfaan Ali on Saturday said that the answers to the energy, climate and food crises facing the Commonwealth – a 56-nation bloc of mostly former British territories – may lie within and it need not look at the developed world.
“What the world needs now and what the Commonwealth needs now, is stability, bold, innovative and visionary thinking. And the combination of our SG (Secretary General Patricia Scotland) and the incoming chair (Rwanda’s Paul Kagame) offers us a great opportunity,” the President said in addressing the closing press conference of the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Kigali, Rwanda.
The President praised the way Rwanda has emerged after a horrific genocide in 1994, when almost a million of the Tutsi people were killed. The East African nation is now one of the fastest growing economies in Africa, and its capital Kigali, is hailed as the cleanest city on the continent.
“When you look at what President Kagame has achieved here with the people of Rwanda, it tells about a leader and a country that has a vision – bold initiatives, creative initiatives.
“And when you look at the crises and the insecurities we face in the world today – food crisis, energy crisis, a climate crisis, a crisis of inequality – we require this type of leadership and the characteristics to navigate us through these difficult paths.”
President Ali said that he thinks President Kagame, coming in this time as chair, will help the Commonwealth family to navigate through this path.
“And with the SG bringing that stability and pushing those programmes, I think we have an excellent opportunity to confront these challenges,” the President stated.
In conversation with Kagame, President Ali said he noted that many times the developing world will look to the developed world for answers and best practices.
“(But) what Rwanda has shown the developing world is that we can have the answer among ourselves and within ourselves too.
“And it is this type of leadership and example by doing that is required in creating some of the changing circumstances that are so critically needed.
“So having a chairman that brings experience in a practical way, I think allows us to have something that is functional, direct and creative in dealing with the challenges that we’ll confront.”
President Ali congratulated President Kagame and the Rwandan people for their hard work in building their country and the city of Kigali, saying that what they have done has “gained tremendous respect.”