J-P. Sagadou : Can you introduce yourself to our readers?
Helene Uzayisenga : I am Helene Uzayisenga, a Rwandan agricultural economist. This was my first time attending the Voyages d’intégration africaine (V.I.A) in its eighth edition.
J-P. Sagadou : Can you share with us an outstanding experience of the 8th edition of the Voyages d’intégration africaine?
Helene Uzayisenga : One of the most memorable moments from the 8th edition of the V.I.A was the night of integration known as « la soiree d’Integration ». After experiencing the culture and traditions of over ten countries through their respective demonstrations and presentations, I felt as though I had traveled to all of those countries in a single night. I gained a lot of knowledge about the history, culture, and everyday life in each and every country. I had a great time watching the traditional dances of each country, but the most important thing I learned was how the variety and contrasts among them can be used to our advantage in order to construct the kind of Africa we envision.
J-P. Sagadou : The theme was: « The youth of African worlds: how to build a world of en-commun, of ubuntu? ». In your opinion, has this V.I.A. enabled you to work towards building a world of Ubuntu? Can you give us some concrete examples?
Helene Uzayisenga : A lot! Because of this V.I.A. edition, I was able to go more deeply into the essence of Ubuntu as well as the advantages it offers. Ubuntu is just about connecting with other people (it’s just humanism). Through participating in the 8th edition of V.I.A, I had the opportunity to devote sufficient time to investigating the Ubuntu values and comprehending how Ubuntu could serve as a beneficial instrument for African integration. As a result, I was able to take away the message and assignment of incorporating Ubuntu’s values into my daily endeavors and undertakings with the intention of contributing to the construction of a more sustainable world, Africa, and community.
J-P. Sagadou : In your opinion, how do V.I.A. projects contribute to renewing our relationship with others and with the African continent?
Helene Uzayisenga : V.I.A. facilitates the gathering of people from different nations with the purpose of connecting with one another, sharing experiences, and gaining knowledge from one another while at the same time forging deep bonds. This creates a simple path for everyone to explore the likelihood of collaborating on our many efforts, programs, and projects, and more significantly, it provides a wonderful opportunity to explore the most effective means of making Africa more appealing, more united, and more developed. I am confident that the V.I.A initiative will make a significant contribution to the realization of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), and I would encourage individuals to welcome it and make the most of its opportunities.
J-P. Sagadou : What have you learned about yourself, others and Africa from taking part in this year’s event?
Helene Uzayisenga : I gained an understanding of Ubuntu’s significance, its values, and the practical ways in which it can be implemented in the daily lives of all individuals to promote successful African integration. Furthermore, this edition provided me with an exceptional opportunity and chance to reacquaint myself with the history and culture of my country. In addition, collaborating with fellows from ten various countries provided an excellent opportunity to discuss Rwanda’s history and the cultures of other nations in an effort to contribute to the best possible future for our countries.