The Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong of Singapore also a former Brigadier-General in the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) is currently in Rwanda for his first official visit to the East African country with 8,224 km away across the Indian ocean.
“The two leaders will build on the already existing strong bilateral partnerships,” the Rwandan presidency said on Monday upon arrival of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
Development analysts have previously noted that Rwanda in 2000 set a 20-year national development vision reflective of a Singaporean-modelled developmental state approach and results have been very impressive.
President Paul Kagame said that Singapore’s development model and its commitment to social cohesion and national unity are very impressive.
Rwanda that aggressively wanted to walk out of effects of the 1994 genocide against Tutsi that claimed a million lives leaving the country destroyed to near ashes, had envisaged to attain a middle income status by 2020 by pursuing a Singaporean development approach.
However, analysts argue that Rwanda failed to achieve the same developmental objectives achieved by Singapore in the twenty years and President Kagame has provided a synopsis of implementing his national development plan.
“You look back and wonder, is it really true that in 20 years or 25 years nothing has changed about the criticism that is constantly made? That’s what really tells the story that maybe some of the criticisms are not either accurate, or genuine or fair,” Kagame explained.
Convinced that he has made tremendous progress in the country, President Kagame argued, “At the end of the day what we need is, “Has there been a difference made for the people?” because we are talking about people, it’s not just whether you like me or you don’t like me.”
“Staying the course comes from the fact that you understand what you have to do and the country and the people have to understand what they want, what are their aspirations, where have they come from, where do they want to go?” he said.
According to Kagame, “So sometimes people get confused when democracy is being expressed in one way or the other, it has not met the standard or the test or definition of some people and therefore criticisms will be built on that.”
Meanwhile, on similar criticisms received by both nations President Kagame said, “Democracy may mean one thing, a broad thing, but it expresses itself in many ways.”
“We value very highly the trade and investment links as well as the cooperation between our central banks. Both our countries have created a strong foundation,” he added.
The two leaders held a joint press conference where President Kagame noted, “The Prime Minister and I had very productive discussions, and I think we are going to be doing even more together, in the years ahead. I want to thank Singapore for being a reliable partner over the years.”