21st – 22nd December 2015

«Rwandans’ Choices – Foundation of National Development and Dignity»

A. Background

The National Dialogue Council (NDC) is provided for by the Constitution of the Republic of Rwanda. The NDC is a Rwandan home grown initiative which offers a forum where His Excellency the President, along with national leaders and citizens debate issues relating to the state of the nation, the state of local government and national unity.

The 13th National Dialogue Council convenes following the Constitutional Referendum that marked renewed self-determination of the people of Rwanda to shape their destiny. It will provide an opportunity for Rwandans to articulate their choices for the future they want, towards the achievement of globally endorsed goals.

B. Theme: “Rwandans ‘Choices – Foundation of National Development and Dignity”

In the aftermath of the Genocide against the Tutsi, Rwandans made tough choices that have allowed us to rebuild the nation. Rwandans chose unity, security and good governance as key ingredients for development. As a result, Rwanda has registered tremendous political and socio-economic transformation over the past 21 years. The sustainability of our achievements will largely depend on the choices we make today, our ability to uphold them and ensure what we choose is effectively translated into actions. In addition, a new set of global development aspirations aimed yet at ensuring better quality of lives for all was approved recently. The National Dialogue will provide an opportunity for Rwandans to learn about new global goals, integrate them into their own vision and commit to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Expected outcomes

-Common understanding of Rwandans’ choices;

-Shared commitment towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

C. Format of the National Dialogue

The guiding principle of the dialogue is to facilitate and seek out the participation of Rwandans, especially through ensuring that all sections of the community are represented at the NDC.

Participants to the National Dialogue Council include Representatives of District Councils, Cabinet Members, Members of Parliament, Governors and Mayors, Army and Police leaders, Permanent Secretaries/ leaders from Public Institutions and Ministries, Representatives of the Judiciary, Representatives of Political Parties legally recognized in Rwanda, Private Sector Operators, Representatives of religious denominations and other Non-Governmental Organisations, Heads of Higher Learning Institutions, Representatives of Rwandans Living Abroad, and other guests as may be invited by His Excellency The President of The Republic.

Other than those present, members of the public will participate through an internet forum; social media, e-mails, sms etc. The event will be covered live on Rwanda Television and Radio, online social media, and regional press.

Topics for Discussion

Topic 1: Rwanda: A Nation defined by her Peoples’ Choices

Individually and collectively, Rwandans made choices in difficult circumstances, as the only way to respond to the uniqueness of the challenges faced by the country. This session will mainly focus on re-articulating key choices made by Rwandans, and showing how these choices have re-invented the Rwandan nation. Rwandans chose to stay together as one, and crafted a political system based on consensus and dialogue. This has allowed Rwandans to regain faith in themselves, restore peace and security as well as trust in fellow citizens and leaders.

Rwandans made choices in a particular regional and global context and were able to uphold their choices despite sustained international pressure. To implement big choices, innovative programs and actions were devised. These programs, many of which are home grown initiatives, have delivered results and transformed lives.

The session will be an opportunity to discuss what is required for Rwandans to sustain past achievements, and propel the country to the next level.

A short video will introduce the session, featuring people from all walks of life who made choices that transformed their lives and that of their communities. Thereafter, selected speakers will speak to key choices made by Rwandans in the past 20 years followed by an open discussion.

Topic 2: Scaling up Citizens’ Participation and Innovations for Development

Participation of and ownership by citizens have proven to be critical success factors in pushing forward the implementation of development programs in Rwanda and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The session will provide a platform to discuss where we are, the future we want, including the commitment to achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. It will briefly present the meaning and aspirations of the globally endorsed goals in Rwanda’s specific context and discuss how citizens should step up their participation and engagement to shape the country’s future through bottom-up inspired policies and leadership across multiple sectors to ensure achievement of the SDGs.


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