Value of our people exceeds all continent's natural resources – Kagame

President Paul Kagame has said that young people can be a driving force for the African continent if provided with an environment to unleash their potential.
Young Entrepreneurs Day (YED) panelists, from left; YED Ambassadors Jean Bosco Nzeyimana and Mohamed Azab, President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi of Egypt, President Kagame, Nigerian busin....
Young Entrepreneurs Day (YED) panelists, from left; YED Ambassadors Jean Bosco Nzeyimana and Mohamed Azab, President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi of Egypt, President Kagame, Nigerian busin....

President Paul Kagame has said that young people can be a driving force for the African continent if provided with an environment to unleash their potential.

Kagame was yesterday speaking at the second Africa Business Forum in the Red Sea resort city of Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt where he is on a two-day visit.

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President Kagame speaks yesterday at the Youth Entrepreneurs Day session in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. Village Urugwiro.

The forum attracted Heads of State and Government, as well as dozens of top industry captains and delegates from across Africa aiming at increasing intra-African investments and cross-border collaboration.

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The panel discussion was held under the theme ‘Driving African Entrepreneurship’ and featured two Heads of State, a prominent African business leader and two youthful entrepreneurs from Rwanda and Egypt. Village Urugwiro.

Kagame said that, beyond the natural resources that the continent is known for, the continent’s real value is in human capital.

“Our continent is famous for its natural resources. But the value of our human capital, our people, exceeds all the oil and minerals in the continent,”

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President Kagame is conducting a two-day visit to Egypt four months after his host, President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, paid an official visit to Rwanda. Village Urugwiro.

 “It isn’t about counting the number of human beings but rather looking at the potential they have and creating an environment for them to unleash their potential,” Kagame said.

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The leaders urged African youth to make the most of available opportunities to build a bright future for themselves and their continent. Village Urugwiro.

Highlighting Rwanda’s approach, the Head of State said that the country had developed a model that involved knowledge, skills and institutions.

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The forum started with the ‘Young Entrepreneurs Day’ session yesterday. Village Urugwiro.

“In Rwanda we created a triangular model; knowledge, skills and institutions where you see technology at work…These institutions result into ideas that can turn into businesses or products. We have done it in a way that it not only serves Rwanda but also international institutions based in Rwanda,” he explained.

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Nigerian business magnet Tony Elumelu addresses the forum as President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi looks on in Sharm El Sheikh, yesterday. Right is Nazipho Mbanjwa, the moderator of the panel. Village Urugwiro.

Other approaches by Rwanda to unlock young people’s potential have involved tertiary education including Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), which graduate about 90,000 young people annually.

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Presidents Kagame and Abdel Fattah Al Sisi on the first day of the Second Africa Business Forum in the Red Sea resort city of Sharm El Sheikh, yesterday. Nearly 10 Heads of State and Government, as well as dozens of renowned industry captains and investors from across the continent are attending the meeting. Village Urugwiro.

The government has also supported young talent by working alongside partners to establish and run innovation hubs to develop young people’s ideas into businesses.

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Rwandan entrepreneur and Young Entrepreneurs Day Ambassador Jean Bosco Nzeyimana addresses the forum yesterday. Village Urugwiro.

Kagame called on countries and delegates present to be deliberate in creating opportunities for their youth.

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The meeting has attracted delegates from across Africa. Village Urugiwiro.

“Rwanda is creating an ecosystem that will benefit African entrepreneurs. We must be deliberate in our scale to create opportunities for African youth,” the President said.

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Presidents Kagame and Al Sisi, flanked by their respective delegations, hold talks in the City of Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt yesterday. Village Urugwiro.

To the youth and partners, the Head of State urged them to work hard and not to be afraid to try.

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President Kagame and his host, President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, are among several Heads of State and Government attending the Second Africa Business Forum. Village Urugwiro.

“Young people and everyone involved, we need to up our game. We owe it to ourselves, communities and continent to work hard and keep trying. Let’s not fail to try. Trust needs to be earned and nurtured,” he advised.

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Flags of countries that are represented at the Second Africa Business Forum in the Egyptian resort city of  Sharm El Sheikh. Village Urugwiro.

The President’s remarks come at a time when there are widespread concerns of African youth immigrants to Europe in search of opportunities often as a result of failure of enabling environments in their own states.

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President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi of Egypt speaks as President Kagame and Tony Elumelu listen at the forum yesterday. Village Urugwiro.

Currently, the continent is mulling how to handle a recent revelation that youthful immigrants are being bought and sold openly in modern-day slave markets in Libya as they seek to move to Europe.

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Thousands of delegates are attending the forum that seeks to promote entrepreneurship and investment on the continent.  Village Urugwiro.

Kagame was on a panel session that also included President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi of Egypt, Nigerian business magnet Tony Elumelu, as well as two Youth Entrepreneur ambassadors, Jean Bosco Nzeyimana and Mohamed Azab.

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The business and investment forum is running under the theme, ‘Driving Investment for Inclusive Growth’, and organisers hope it will boost intra-African investments. Village Urugwiro.

The business and investment forum is held under the theme, ‘Driving Investment for Inclusive Growth’.

Kagame’s visit to Egypt and participation in the forum that seeks to promote business and investment across the continent comes weeks before he assumes the chairmanship of the African Union. 

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

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