Kigali, 12 May 2016
While officially opening the World Economic Forum for Africa taking place for three days in Kigali, today President Kagame stated that development is about more than money or machines and or good policies, but about real people and the lives they lead, with the countless choices made each and every day.
“In practice this means cultivating a good politics that demands accountability and results from leaders, promotes unity over division, and protects the stability and security which are the foundation of everything else. It is a myth that economic and social development can ever occur without civic participation and rights. It is also a myth that there is only one acceptable way to build a just, free, and equitable society.”
Speaking before heads of state and Government, senior government officials and business leaders from around the continent and the world, President Kagame pointed out that the Africa that the world meets through WEF is a continent of opportunity and partnership, and a full actor in the story of globalisation, sharing common values and ambitions. He said that for WEF to convene in Rwanda is a demonstration that optimism about Africa’s prospects is always the best response to adversity.
“Finally, let me conclude by stressing that our hopes and ambitions for the future must be built on a foundation of clear-headed realism. The Fourth Industrial Revolution builds on the previous ones, which largely passed Africa by. As a result our continent barely registers in global value chains. Africa can only claim its place at the table by earning it. Leapfrogging has its limits, and we must remain mindful of the gaps that hold us back, and be able to address them. Africa should not still be playing catch-up by the time the Fifth Industrial Revolution comes around.”
President Kagame also attended various side events, where he participated in pertinent discussions concerning transformation of Africa.