BUJUMBURA June 11th (ABP) – The Center for Development and Enterprises (CDE-Great Lakes), whose mission is to reduce barriers to prosperity and opportunities in the Great Lakes Region, has organized in Bujumbura since the beginning of the last week, a series of activities for young people from 6 countries, namely Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Kenya, Morocco and Lebanon. The first activity was a two-day summit on the Great Lakes Region called “Francophone Symposium 2019”. Underlying themes were facilitated by Dr. Patrick Mardini, Chairman of the Lebanese Institute for Market Studies.

In an interview with the press at the end of the symposium, he said that the summit would be fruitful to the participants, because “everyone came with their own problems that we have already identified. We will try to think about these problems, while drawing inspiration from the classic economic contexts that have helped other countries overcome them,” he said. He added that the main idea is to go out with solid ideas on directions that need to be considered in order to contribute to development.

On his part, Mr. Aimable Manirakiza, executive secretary of the CDE-Great Lakes indicated that the said symposium was a series of round tables where the motto is the interactivity between spirits engaged in the promotion and the defense of the ideas of the freedom in Francophone Africa, in order to encourage the participants to draw inspiration from the source of the fundamentals of liberalism. “Our interactive conference is inspired by a Socratic discussion format that is most likely to foster deep exploration and a fruitful generation of ideas,” he added.

On Wednesday June 5th, the second event was an economic summit on the Great Lakes Region, also known as the Great Lakes Economic Summit 2019, which focused on “Reducing Barriers to Prosperity and Opportunities in the Great Lakes Region, with a view to reducing poverty”, led by Dr. Mardini. To that end, he indicated that entrepreneurship is at the root of all development. He appreciated the procedures for opening a business in Burundi, while suggesting improving the business climate, stopping all trade restrictions and exempting trade in the Great Lakes Region. That expert draws the link between economic freedom and the fight against poverty where he stressed that if they release people by leaving them to work, they will get themselves out of poverty. That is why he emphasized the will of Leadership and the change of mentalities of a youth getting out of universities and that must be encouraged to orient themselves in entrepreneurship, instead of waiting for help from nowhere.

Basseme Luvuga John Peter, Chairman of Congo National Entrepreneurship and Small Business Association also said that it’s easy to open a business right now, but it’s almost impossible to maintain it, so much so that after three months, most of those businesses are already closed due to regulations preventing the entrepreneur from flourishing. Currently, he added, young people in the Great Lakes regions are finding it difficult to start their own businesses because of lack of financial resources despite having innovative ideas. It is for this reason that he recommended that there be a national policy that accompanies those young people to manage their projects. He appreciated the initiative of CDE-GL, which took this initiative to organize a summit to which young people are invited to discuss obstacles that hinder economic freedom in the Great Lakes region. Basseme believes that those young people will be a force on which they must rely to build the Great Lakes region.

In turn, Mr. Aimable Manirakiza, Executive Secretary of the CDE-GL, said that free trade is a very important tool that allows people to escape poverty. He further indicated that it is still possible that the problem of poverty and unemployment that handicaps young people in the Great Lakes region could find an effective solution. Mr. Manirakiza no doubt hopes that this summit will add value and complement the awareness of those young people who must understand that their destiny is in their own hands.

The two activities were closed on Thursday June 6, 2019, with a training course for bloggers and journalists on “The role of the media in the fight against poverty”, provided by Economist Dr. Patrick Mardini. At the end of the training, media professionals understood the relevance of their role in economic freedom. Some of them who spoke with the check by ABP said that thanks to that training, they have just been equipped in the matter of a free economy and that they will take the lead in raising awareness among the people in general and youth in particular, without forgetting the ruling class on the obstacles to economic freedom in the Great Lakes region.

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