London, 20 October 2014
This morning, President Kagame began his three day visit to London with the Global African Investment Summit. The event themed ‘Realising Africa’s Investment Potential’ brought together over 300 business leaders for a discussion aimed at bringing private sectors and governments together to discuss access to finance and bankable projects on the continent.
The summit opened with a presidential panel with President Kagame, President Museveni of Uganda, President Mahama of Ghana and Prime Minister Pinda of Tanzania. Speaking on the ebola crisis, President Kagame began by calling for the right approach to addressing the crisis:
“We need to work together regionally, strengthen country systems to tackle problems that affect African citizens. Epidemics like Ebola remind us that investments should be about building systems.”
Pointing to challenges including infrastructure and energy among others, President Kagame called on investors to focus on the opportunities:
“There are different challenges but there are also opportunities. Between the resources that East Africa or Sub Saharan Africa has and the challenges, right in between there are real opportunities and solutions.”
President Museveni reminded the audience of the unmatched opportunities that exist in Africa:
“Africa will be compose of 3 billion people. From whichever angle you look at it, Africa is the place to invest. The consuming power is there and the infrastructure is being worked on and there is market access.”
Drawing attention to the importance of improving the lives of citizens, President Kagame called on investments that develop nations and people:
“It’s not just about investing in IT or infrastructure. Our own national budget, 15% of it goes to education and it has been increasing. This is about prioritizing investment in human capital from primary school, to university, to vocational and technical education.”
President Kagame concluded with a message to investors:
“Invest in Rwanda, in East Africa. Your money will be safe, you will have high returns and the country and our citizen will benefit and we will develop together.”
President Kagame was welcomed to London by hundreds of Rwandans living in the UK who lined the streets across from Savoy Hotel where the summit took place. Supporters held signs thanking President Kagame for his leadership and listing Rwanda’s accomplishments in the last twenty years including 1 million people lifted out of poverty, Rwanda’s position as the10th fastest growing economy in the world and reiterating Rwandans choice of dignity, resilience and self reliance.
The next two days of President Kagame’s visit to London will include a lecture at Chatham House on “Rwanda’s role in a changing world” on Tuesday as well as a keynote address at the UK-Rwanda Business forum to be held on Wednesday.