London, 21 March 2011
“Africa is ready for business”, President Kagame told the audience of over eighty chief executives and investors at the Times CEO Africa Summit taking place in London,
“With high consistent growth and a multitude of opportunities, this fact should be an obvious one but it is often clouded by negative and unfounded perceptions.”
To address these misperceptions, President Kagame challenged the audience of investors to base their decisions to invest in Africa on facts and realities of each country rather than sweeping generalizations of the continent;
“Will there be a change of attitude towards Africa that supports trade and investment aspirations? The same question goes to Africans themselves: whether they have the attitude to believe in themselves and to act in ways that promotes investment.”
Africa has shown remarkable resilience, recovering quickly from the global economic downturn and – according to projections by the African Development Bank – is expected to grow by an average of more than 5% in 2011. Rwanda’s economy alone is projected to grow annually by over 7% in the next three years – in fact, last year we grew by 7.4%.
Noting that by 2020, the number of middle class Africans will almost double, with combined consumer spending of USD $1.4 trillion, President Kagame said;
“This is a significant part of the population both as consumer and workforce. That is why in Rwanda we are investing in health, education and training, science and technology to create a knowledgeable and skilled labour force ready for this new economic reality.”
James Harding, Times Chief Editor said that Rwanda under President Kagame is an undeniable example of a country that has defied all the stereotypes of an African nation.
President Kagame pointed to Rwanda as a clear example of a country where good policies lead to results. With regional integration and reforms encouraging public-private partnerships and investment in its people, Rwanda is achieving rapid and sustained growth.
“We need strong partnerships between business and governments that turn opportunities not only into profitable ventures but alsohave a lasting positive impact on the social and environmental wellbeing of citizens.”