KAMPALA - President Paul Kagame has said that security threats emanating from the DR Congo territory that used to threaten investments in Rwanda are a thing of the past.
Addressing journalists in Kampala, Uganda yesterday together with his Ugandan counterpart, Yoweri Museveni, Kagame said such regional challenges were being handled through joint efforts by concerned nations.
DR Congo is home to about 10,000 rebels of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), most of whose members are largely blamed for the 1994 Rwanda Genocide in which an estimated one million Tutsis and ethnic Hutus perished.
Early this month, Rwanda and DR Congo signed a security pact in Nairobi, Kenya committing the latter to disarm FDLR as a “matter of urgency”.
“The processes are underway to overcome the hardest part,” Kagame, who has been at the forefront of wooing multinational companies into investing in Africa, said.
Both Presidents were speaking yesterday shortly after the launch of Commonwealth Business Forum in Kampala, which they were both due to address last evening.
Kagame is the only foreign head of state to address the business leaders’ conference, just three days before the start of the Commonwealth Heads of State Meeting (Chogm) in Kampala, this week.
Museveni said the problems in the DR Congo were “residual” and deserved less attention. “They are not major any more. They cannot stop investment in Uganda, and I believe in Rwanda. They are peripheral and not structural,” Museveni said.
Meanwhile, addressing the Business Forum which attracted over 1,000 delegates from over 40 countries including Rwanda, Museveni urged for the empowerment of East Africans in order to raise the consumption levels that would subsequently boost investment in the region.
“When your neighbour becomes rich you also become richer. Universal empowerment of man in terms of purchasing power is good for development,” the Ugandan leader said.
Commodity prices had dropped in the 1970s but because of increased consumption levels by the Chinese and the Indians the prices rose again, Museveni said.
The chairman of the Business Forum, James Mulwana, said East Africa would lobby for investors to inject resources in agriculture, construction, infrastructure, tourism and services, which he said are an engine of economic growth.
Commonwealth trade has increased from $2 trillion to $3 trillion and investment flows have grown to over $180 billion. Dr Mohan Kaul, the Director General of the Commonwealth Business Forum, said twenty of the world’s fastest growing economies are in the Commonwealth.
He said improved collaboration in the Commonwealth Family would enhance the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals.
Rwanda applied to join Commonwealth, and its bid is due for consideration at this week’s Chogm.