Kigali, 27 January 2016
President Kagame today, at Urugwiro Village, received the US Secretary for Commerce, Penny Pritzker who led a delegation of 13 members of the US President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa (PAC-DBIA) and African CEOs to Rwanda for a CEO business Round Table themed “The economic benefits of integration.”
Opening the meeting, President Kagame said he was glad that the meeting was one of the commitments as a follow up to the US – Africa Summit that took place in the US in August 2014.
“I welcome you on the backdrop of the relationship we have had for a long time and want to strengthen between the United States and the East African Community and the wider Sub-Saharan Africa. It is encouraging to have business leaders in our region and national leaders to get together and work together and more so that this meeting has the background of a relationship defined about two years ago in the US when we had the US-Africa Summit and I am glad that this is one of the efforts to follow up on the commitments that were made to each other when the two sides met.”
The US Secretary of Commerce, Penny Pritzker said that the US President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa had chosen Rwanda as their second destination during their visit to Africa because Rwanda is one of the truly economic success stories in Africa.
“I visited Rwanda five years ago and found the people of Rwanda quite remarkable. We are focused on steps the US Government can take to support the establishment of stronger and lasting commercial partnerships between the US and the African private sectors especially regions and countries where there have been considerable economic success and Rwanda is a prime example of this. From a commercial perspective, Rwanda’s climb of the World Bank ease of doing business is notable. During my last visit to Rwanda I was quite impressed with the one-stop-shop for investors, both local and foreign that I went back to my hometown in Chicago and said that we need to do the same thing. But Rwanda’s economic story and its future cannot be told without referencing to the larger story of the East African Community.Rwanda and the East African Community have a lot to offer U.S. investors. East Africa is the most integrated and fastest-growing regional economic community in Africa”
The Minister of Trade and Commerce of Rwanda, Francois Kanimba applauded the existing dynamic relationship especially in bilateral trade and investment between the US and Rwanda, cemented by the visit by the US Secretary of Commerce leading a high profile delegation.
“In recent years we have seen trade between our countries increasing, driven by the preferential trade offer by the US Government to developing countries through the African Growth Opportunity Act. More recently we have seen entrepreneurial and artistic talent of Rwandans break into the US market in addition to high quality coffee, minerals and Agricultural products. As one may expect, Rwanda also imports a wide range of products from the US and the trends are promising for the future. Following the signature of the bilateral treaty between Rwanda and the US in December 2011, US investors have cultivated confidence to invest in Rwanda.”
The Business Roundtable focused on enhancement of regional integration in Africa and participants included business leaders and executives from the United States, CEOs doing business on the continent as well as in Rwanda.