Industrialization: East Africa's challenges are its opportunities

Posted on : Thursday , 16th October 2014

 President Paul Kagame yesterday addressed the Global Business Forum in Dubai hosted by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The event was organised under the patronage of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE vice-president and and ruler of Dubai.
As the region’s largest African economic event, the forum brought together seven 700 government and business leaders for a two-day discussion aimed at strengthening economic ties between the Middle East and Africa.
Speaking on the panel titled, “Africa Rising-Leading the Continent towards Change,” alongside Ethiopian President Dr Mulatu Teshome Wirtu and Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama, President Kagame shared the vision that has allowed Rwanda to address its challenges.
“Africa’s challenges are also opportunities. It is about investing in resources to ensure they benefit the people,” he said.
President Kagame added that regional integration provides an opportunity for sustainable progress and to fulfill the potential of intra- African trade.
Kagame added that without integration, Africa’s progress will not be fulfilled.
“African integration is key. African countries standing alone cannot go far. Together, we can make the kind of movement forward we all want,” the President said.
The panel discussed barriers that continue to hamper investment on the African continent, including infrastructure, corruption and rule of law.
Explaining the steps Rwanda has taken to encourage business, the President emphasised the importance of policies that uphold rule of law and create a business-friendly environment.
“There is need for a predictable environment in which investors put their money, for rule of law, for transparency and fighting corruption. Part of the progress in Rwanda has been made on that basis,” he said.
On the challenge of corruption, Kagame said policies are not sufficient and must be strengthened by accountable institutions.
“We need to fix infrastructure, skills and governance. We need to govern for people and their transformation and make sure resources are managed to benefit the people. We should take nothing for granted and continue to work together.”
Speaking on the same panel, President Mulatu Teshome Wirtu echoed the importance of good governance and urged investors to understand the context of each African nation.
“With democracy and good governance, peace and stability, we can have a vision of integration into the world economy. We cannot use the same formula for all African countries. It has to be in line with the realities of each African country,” Wirtu said.
During the first half of the year, Dubai’s total non oil trade with Africa reached a value of $16.3 billion while Dubai’s Emirates has increased cargo destinations in Africa from 31 to 38 in the last two months.
In the last five years, Dubai has increased its trade with Africa by 141 per cent from $10 billion in 2008 to over $24 billion the past years

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