Harvard Africa Business Conference
Paul Kagame was born in October 1957 in Rwanda’s Southern Province. His family fled pre-independence ethnic persecution and violence in 1960, crossing into Uganda where Kagame spent thirty years as a refugee. Determined to resist oppressive regimes, as a young man, Paul Kagame joined current Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and his group of guerrilla fighters to launch a war to free Uganda from dictatorship. Under the new government, he served as a senior military officer.
In 1990, Paul Kagame returned to Rwanda to lead the Rwandan Patriotic Front’s (RPF) four-year struggle to liberate the country from the autocratic and divisive order established since independence. Led by Kagame, the Rwanda Patriotic Army defeated the genocidal government in July 1994 and the RPF subsequently set Rwanda on its current course towards reconciliation, nation building and socioeconomic development.
Paul Kagame was appointed Vice-President and Minister for Defence in the Government of National Unity on 19 July 1994, and four years later was elected Chairman of the RPF, a partner in the Government of National Unity. On 22 April 2000 Paul Kagame took the Oath of Office as President of the Republic of Rwanda after being elected by the Transitional National Assembly. President Paul Kagame won the first ever democratic elections held in Rwanda in August 2003 and was re-elected to a second seven-year mandate in August 2010.
President Kagame has received recognition for his leadership in peace building and reconciliation, development, good governance, promotion of human rights and women’s empowerment, and advancement of education and ICT, and is widely sought after to address regional and international audiences on a range of issues including African development, leadership, and the potential of ICT as a dynamic industry as well as an enabler for Africa’s socioeconomic transformation. President Kagame served as chair of the UN Secretary General's Advisory Group on MDGs from 2010 to 2015 and is the current co-chair of the ITU’s Broadband Commission alongside Carlos Slim.
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