Africa is an asset, not a burden -- Kagame

President Paul Kagame Thursday addressed the IHS CERAWeek, the leading energy conference bringing together leaders from both the public and private sector and over two thousands participants.

The meeting took place in Houston, United States.

Delivering his address, Kagame described energy as the lifeblood of the global economy without which Africa will not be able to achieve middle income status, according to a statement from the Office of the President.

Pointing to Africa’s growing population, rapid urbanisation and the fast growth rate, President Kagame described the continent as presenting unprecedented opportunities.

“Taken together, these trends mean that Africa will be in a position, to help offset the risk associated with uncertain energy demand, in the more advanced economies.”

“Africa is changing for the better, even though risk perceptions often lag behind reality. The new opportunities to be seized in Africa will yield solid returns for investors, while building shared prosperity for our citizens.”

He gave examples of technological innovations in Rwanda, including the upcoming drone port to supply health supplies to rural areas, and the development of new technologies, to convert methane gas from Lake Kivu into electricity.

The Head of State then called on participants to look at Africa as partner in technological innovation and calling for a change of perception of Africa.

“The current energy market pessimism will have served a useful purpose for all of us, if it somehow contributes to the wider realisation, that Africa is more of an asset than a burden, for addressing the global challenges ahead,” President Kagame added.

Following his address, President Kagame joined Daniel Yergin, Vice President of IHS and Founder of CERA, for a one-on-one discussion during which he shared the progress of regional integration and the essential role of private sector in the joint infrastructure projects that will lead to increased energy for the region.

Encouraging participants to invest in regional projects, President Kagame described the potential for returns as huge.

Described as one of the leading world conferences on energy, CERAWeek serves to bring together different global leaders to discuss challenges facing the energy sector and forge common solutions.

This year’s conference marked the 35th Anniversary of CERAWeek and leaders from across the globe including Enrique Peña Nieto, President of Mexico; Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, President of Iceland, Ali Al-Naimi, Saudi Minister of Petroleum among others.