Kigali, 12 February 2015
President Kagame today officially opened the Capital Markets East Africa International Conference taking place in Kigali for two days. The high-level international conference on Capital Markets East Africa 2015 is hosted by the Government of Rwanda and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, under the theme: “Accelerating Economic Development”
In his address, President Kagame stated that Capital markets are part of the infrastructure of optimism upon which Africa’s prosperity rests:
“Even though capital markets seem to be about money, ultimately they are about people. In working to prioritise capital market development, we are opening a new chapter in our story of liberation, by addressing the deeper structural deficiencies that have kept Africa at the margins of the world economy.”
Speaking on the comparison between aid and markets, President Kagame said it would be unwise for Africans to leave something that they know is more important for them:
“The question of preference between markets and aid can only be asked in Africa, not in any other region of this world. Let’s not be diplomatic, let’s not gloss over issues. Markets are markets. We know what they offer outweigh what we have in aid by thousands of times. All kinds of wealth lying all over the place in Africa and being recycled to us in forms of aid and in the end we are told, you must be humble and quiet and not say anything. Let’s not be diplomatic, let’s not gloss over issues. Markets are markets. We know what they offer outweigh what we have in aid by thousands of times. Aid is more political than anything else. Markets are less political, they are neutral.”
President Kagame observed that no country on the African continent on its own is big enough or rich enough to build and sustain the markets that Africa needs.
“We are much poorer than we have any reason to be because we have lacked the ability to accumulate our own wealth. The inadequacy of our capital markets where they exist at all should be understood historically. Africa’s capital markets should be as resilient and inclusive as Africa itself.”
During the two days, the conference will convene about 300 global and regional experts, regulators, law firms, issuers, and rating agencies.