Davos, 21 January 2015
On the first day of his participation at the World Economic Forum, President Kagame joined the CNBC Panel on achieving growth in Africa.
Speaking alongside South African President Jacob Zuma, Sunil Bharti Mittal of Bharti enterprises, Oscar Onyema the Chief Executive Officer of Nigerian Stock Exchange and John Coumantaros the Chairman of Flour Mills of Nigeria, President Kagame spoke on the importance of intra-African collaboration to solve challenges facing the continent:
“We need to allow Africans to move freely across borders and to invest in and with each other. If we do this, the rest will follow.”
During the discussion on the role of aid and its future use on the continent, President Kagame shared Rwanda’s vision of ending aid dependency:
“It starts with the original objective. We have used development aid to ensure we do not keep needing aid. We are not saying we no longer need aid. We are saying we can survive with less aid now than we would have in the past.”
Pointing to the need for nations to rely on resources that can be found within, President Kagame listed steps Rwanda has taken to decrease the percentage of aid needed for Rwanda’s national budget:
“Investing development aid, building capacity and identifying an area of revenue generation beyond what we get from aid.”
On investor’s perception of insecurity in Africa, President Kagame responded that pockets of insecurity exist but should not be exaggerated:
“Reality is Africa is largely stable but also has some problems of insecurity in different parts of the continent. The Issue of perception comes in when there is some level of exaggeration or misinterpretation. For Africa to grow and reach the level of prosperity we want and deserve we have to get together and collaborate to address issues of insecurity but these issues should not derail Africa’s development.”
President Kagame further highlighted the essential role regional integration plays in accelerating and sustaining growth with the example of the reduction of number of days containers take to travel from Mombasa to Rwanda from 22 days to 6 days.
President Kagame pointed to the need for both infrastructure and political will to be present for progress towards regional integration to take place.
Earlier during a breakfast discussion with business leaders held on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum, President Kagame reiterated Rwanda’s vision of an integrated East African Community.
“We are not looking at Rwanda as an island but as a country that benefits from working with its neighbors,” President Kagame said.
Speaking on the reconstruction of Rwanda in the past twenty years, President Kagame pointed to resilience and partnerships as key to Rwanda’s transformation:
“Rwanda stands for something. It is a nation that has been built from nothing. It was rebuilt through Rwandans’ resilience but also partnerships with friends.”
President Kagame ended the day with a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Karim Massimov of Kazakhstan and a dinner hosted by Prof. Schwab, founder of the World Economic Forum.
For pictures of President Kagame at World Economic Forum 2015 visit https://www.flickr.com/photos/paulkagame/sets/72157650417338215/