First Lady invited to Kigali dialogue . . . joins other philanthropists, influential personalities

FIRST LADY Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa on Monday joined other influential personalities and philanthropists from across the globe at the opening of the Third Kigali Global Dialogue which brings together charity organisations, academics, civil society and the private sector from around the world to deliberate on and devise solutions to critical sustainable development challenges facing the global community today.

The issues of climate change, promotion of traditional grains, elimination of hunger, women inclusion and empowerment, which the First Lady is championing in Zimbabwe, were among subjects that featured prominently at the first segment of the three-day conference.

Dr Mnangagwa was invited by the event organisers who are keen to tap into her works. The conference is co-hosted by the Observer Research Foundation (ORF) America, the Rwanda Governance Board and the Rwanda Convention Bureau.

The platform brings together delegates and speakers from more than 70 countries and amplifies perspectives from across geographies and more than half the speakers are women.

Several speakers are also drawn from across the world, including representatives of civil society, researchers, academia and institutes from Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bhutan, Bolivia, Brazil, Cameroon, Egypt, France, Gambia, Germany, Guinea Bissau, India, Japan, Kenya, Mali, Nepal, Nigeria, Philippines, United States, Rwanda, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Swaziland, Switzerland, Slovenia, United Arab Emirates, Union of Comoros, the United Kingdom and Zimbabwe.

First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa flanked by Ms Susana Malcorra, former Argentine Foreign Affairs Minister and president of GWL voices, former Bolivian President Jorge Quiroga, former Mali Prime Minister Mr Moussa Mara and other influential personalities and delegates from across the globe follow proceedings during the official opening of Kigali Global Dialogue in Rwanda on Monday night.

Also participating at the dialogue is Mr Jorge Quiroga, former President of Bolivia and Member of Club de Madrid. 

Bolivia Club de Madrid is a forum of former Presidents and Prime Ministers. Mr Mousa Mara, former Prime Minister of Mali and member of Club de Madrid, Mali and Ms Susana Malcora, former Foreign Affairs Minister of Argentina and president of GWL voices, an advocacy group of multilateralism and gender equality, are also participating.

An organiser of the event, Mr Samir Saran, who is the president of ORF paid glowing tribute to Dr Mnangagwa and said the whole audience was keen to learn from her.

“The African continent is changing. It is making remarkable strides on meeting the aspirations of its people. You can see there is energy and dynamism throughout the continent. 

“The Kigali Action dialogue seeks to capture this moment, capture the African story, capture the African transformation, learn from Africa solution, walk with Africa and indeed engage with them more deeply,” he said. 

The dialogue, Mr Saran said, was a location which brought together 70 countries from around the world to participate in this African journey. 

“To learn about African stories and of course to share their own experiences as well. It is a horizontal partnership, a partnership among friends. The Kigali global dialogue seeks to create a new framework of equity, of participation and of collaboration. 

“The First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa is an essential part of this mission. She is someone who is changing many lives in Zimbabwe, is inspiring the women and youth around this magnificent region and moreover her personal investment, her efforts, her devotion of resources to change the lives of women and the next generation can truly be what most of us can aspire to. Having her with us this time around is really an achievement for me as an organiser,” he said. 

Mr Saran said it was important that “the impressive audience that is gathered here should also listen to her. We will learn from her and we are glad that she is with us.”

Rwandese Foreign Affairs and international Cooperation Minister Dr Vincent Biruta hinted that the dialogue would provide an essential platform for delegates to reflect on contemporary issues of development and growth facing the world and discuss various opportunities that can be exploited to ensure the matters were addressed.

“Today, we find ourselves at a pivotal moment in history, where urgent action is needed to protect our planet and ensure the well-being of its inhabitants. The five thematic pillars of this year’s edition reflect the pressing issues that demand our attention and collective efforts.

The minister urged nations to “reimagine the relationship between technology and society”. 

“As we pursue green transition and support human progress, it is essential to ensure equitable access to technologies worldwide. We must also nurture start-up ecosystems and digital economies in countries and cities that are developing solutions for the benefit of all,” he said.

He spoke about the need for women empowerment and elimination of barriers hindering the success of women, dovetailing with the work being done by Dr Mnangagwa to ensure women participate fully in the country’s economic development.

“The third pillar, ‘Unleash: Gender-First Development’, highlights the immeasurable barriers faced by women and girls in their pursuit of equitable participation in societies worldwide. It is our duty to support their fight for justice and equity across all domains, knowing that their contributions will shape our future,” he said.

Observer Research Foundation (ORF) president and event organiser Mr Samir Saran (left) Ms Terri Chapman, Rwanda Governance Board CEO Dr Usta Kaitesi (second from right) and Rwandan Foreign Affairs Minister Dr Vincent Biruta (right) during the official opening of Kigali Global Dialogue in Rwanda on Monday night.

“Remonetise Development: A New Global Governance Framework”, the fourth pillar of this year’s Kigali Global Dialogue, the minister said, emphasised the need to reimagine and realise new development frameworks grounded in justice and equity. 

Lastly, “Dispersed Globalisation: Propositions for A New World Order” reminds us of the inadequacies of the current global economic order. It is imperative that we explore alternative development paradigms that offer pathways to a more just global society. 

“The Kigali Global Dialogue is more than just a conference; it is an opportunity for us to build the partnerships required to take new ideas forward. By engaging in meaningful dialogue and fostering collaboration across borders, we can create a better world for future generations.

“I encourage each and every one of you to actively participate in the discussions, challenge prevailing narratives, and bring forth innovative solutions. Let us draw inspiration from the diversity of perspectives represented here, as more than half of our speakers are women, and a significant focus is placed on amplifying the voices from the Global South. 

“I am confident that the 3rd edition of the Kigali Global Dialogue will be a catalyst for positive change. Together, we can contribute to redefining the contours of development and growth, laying the groundwork for a more sustainable, inclusive, and just future,” he said.

Dr Usta Kaitesi, the chief executive of the Rwanda Governance board described the Kigali Global Dialogue as a great opportunity to share the story that nations can survive by living and working together.

“Issues of climate change, issues of inclusion and equality, I think that as we come to Kigali to discuss, to dialogue we realise the beauty of diversity, we realise the fact that there are a lot of common aspects about us than the things that separate us. Climate change threatens all of us. 

“It may be at different degrees but certainly the direction it is taking is a threat to all of us. Poverty, however far it looks from you, it will eventually affect you. Living a dignified life is a core element. 

“Including women and giving them an opportunity to live a full life and participate in the development of their countries can never be overstated because the population is more than half women and it does not make any ideological sense if we leave some of us to be innovators and contributors in the development journey that we take,” she said.

First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa share a lighter moment with Ms Susana Malcorra, former Argentine Foreign Affairs Minister and president of GWL voices during the official opening of Kigali Global Dialogue in Rwanda on Monday night.

In view of climate change which resulted in droughts and less rainfall, Vardaan Marwah, a celebrity chef spoke on the need for the growing of crops like millet which thrived in adverse weather conditions.

He also called for the consumption of traditional grains which had high nutritional value.

“When I was a kid I thought millet is for poor people, but now I know its importance and how nutritious it is. Its benefits are mind-blowing and that is why places like Asia and the US are focusing on millet. We have to ask our farmers to shift to growing millets because it can withstand any amount of heat, it can withstand drought and it can make them more money as a crop. Today we are doing four dishes in tonight’s dinner that,” he said.

The production and consumption of traditional dishes is being promoted at a large-scale by Dr Mnangagwa back home as consumers are not at risk of diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular challenges compared to exotic dishes. 

Dr Mnangagwa is actively involved in the production of traditional grains by giving out inputs to the people, help them cultivate and reap plus consume the dishes with competitions where growers are rewarded while those who prepare the dishes also win prizes in competitions.


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