Kigali, 30 October 2012

President Kagame has said that African economies operate in both national and international political contexts which have a huge impact on choices countries make and the outcomes thereof. While opening the 7th African Economic Conference today at Serena hotel, President Kagame pointed out that if development in African nations depended on the advice of economists alone, the countries would have made tremendous progress:

View pictures of the story:

Listen to the full speech:

“In Rwanda, we understand that politics and economics go hand in hand and we have made a conscious and deliberate choice of inclusive development based on our political reality. By and large, they have produced positive results. Growth has been consistent and poverty levels considerably reduced like in the last five years by 12 % – from 56.9% to 44% in five years.”

However, President Kagame pointed out that it is also clear that in Rwanda and other developing countries, development is not driven by local politics alone:

“Although the agenda is Rwanda-driven and led, the outcomes are often the result of partnership with development partners. This means that development outcomes are partly dependent on external factors that are sometimes unpredictable and not rational or logical, and therefore we are not in full control. In fact, there is ample evidence that external political manipulations can stifle, and do stifle economic growth. I don’t want to believe that this is what is intended.”

In his speech, Dr. Donald Kaberuka, the African Development Bank President said that it was expected that the conference would come up with additional strategies for long term solutions for the world economic crisis, as the situation has led to each country looking at fixing their immediate problems. He said African nations should start looking for internal solutions to finance their own development as well as learning from what has gone wrong globally in designing their own strategies.

Helen Clark, the UNDP administrator said that in spite of the uncertain time in which we live in today, with the recent past marked by crisis after crisis, the conference is gathering with the conviction that the people of Africa would rise to the challenge. Clark warned that deliberate policy measures and targets and investment are need to not only make growth fast but also inclusive and sustainable because the ‘rising tide is capable of rocking every boat in the harbour.

The African Economic Conference (AEC), which is also being attended by former Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo and former Prime Minister of Sao Tome and Principe, Joaquim Rafael Branco is the most comprehensive event held each year on Africa’s economy and development, discussing macroeconomic prospects, as well as trade and finance and development policy in a global context. Its provide a platform for experts on Africa, both within and outside the continent, to reflect and dialogue on new directions for growth policy on the continent in order to determine the best approaches to attain the Millennium Development Goals, achieve the objectives of NEPAD and accelerate Africa’s sustainable development.