NEW-YORK - A new wave of reform is sweeping across Africa and the continent is keen to engage the rest of the world in doing business, President Paul Kagame, told the think-tank International Peace Institute (IPI), in New York on Monday.
With drums of war falling silent across the continent, Kagame told his audience of experts in different fields, that Africa is enjoying relative peace and stability - more pre-occupied with creating prosperity for its people.
“I am pleased to state that on matters of stability, peace and development, today’s Africa is unrecognizable from that of yester-year,” said Kagame.
“Like other parts of the world, present day pre-occupation in Africa revolves around creating prosperity.”
To drive home the message of change in Africa, Kagame gave an example of the recent World Bank Doing Business report which cites post-conflict nations as making ground breaking reforms on the continent.
Referring to Rwanda, which emerged the world’s top reformer, Kagame said the urge to reform was steadfast and cutting across the continent to countries like Liberia and Sierra Leone - all post-conflict countries.
While acknowledging that the continent still faces challenges, including a few conflict hotspots, the President emphasized that: “Africa is a different place today.”
“Africa’s sources of trade and investment, in the meantime, have been broadening beyond our traditional partners of North America and Western Europe – Asian countries especially China and India have become key actors.”
“More importantly, Africa’s own private sector has been gaining strength in most sectors, notably in the mobile telecommunications where several African companies have become highly profitable transnational operators.”
Whereas, the continent was increasingly seeking its own solutions to its own problems, Kagame said partnerships with the rest the world have to be based on, “mutual respect, trust, and a collaborative outlook.”
As a forward looking example on how Africa is fairing in using home-grown solutions to solve its problems, Kagame gave an example of the recent home-driven and peace-building initiatives between Rwanda and DR Congo.
He said, out of their own will, the two nations have achieved what he described as “a major breakthrough towards extending the boundaries of peace.”
The President said that though problems between these two nations have been defined with distortions in the past, Kigali and Kinshasa were now looking ahead to peaceful co-existence and embarking on joint projects in the areas of trade and investment.
“On the political and diplomatic front, we have now exchanged ambassadors with the DRC – paving the way for further efforts in the more important realms of economic growth and development – including joint projects in energy, environment, trade and investment.”
President Kagame will today join a select group of seven Heads of State to address a UN special session on climate change. He will be the only African leader to address the session, at which US President Barack Obama will give a keynote address.
Later in the day, the President is scheduled to join his colleagues from Sub-Saharan in a meeting with President Obama.