President Paul Kagame yesterday began a three-day visit to London where he addressed business leaders at the Global African Investment Summit. The event, under the theme "Realising Africa's Investment Potential", brought together over 300 business executives for a discussion aimed at bringing the private sector and governments together to discuss access to finance and bankable projects on the continent.
The summit opened with a presidential panel with Presidents Kagame, Yoweri Museveni of Uganda andJohn Dramani Mahama of Ghana, and Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda of Tanzania.
Speaking on the Ebola crisis, President Kagame called for the right approach to addressing the crisis.
"We need to work together regionally, strengthen country systems to tackle problems that affect African citizens. Epidemics like Ebola remind us that investments should be about building systems."
Pointing to challenges like infrastructure and energy, Kagame called on investors to focus on the opportunities. "There are different challenges but there are also opportunities. Between the resources that East Africa or Sub Saharan Africa have and the challenges, right in between there are real opportunities and solutions."
President Museveni reminded the audience of the unmatched opportunities that exist in Africa, saying: "Africa will be three billion people. From whichever angle you look at it, Africa is the place to invest. The consuming power is there and the infrastructure is being worked on and there is market access."
Drawing attention to the importance of improving the lives of citizens, President Kagame called for investments that develop nations and people.
"It's not just about investing in IT or infrastructure. Our own national budget, 15 per cent of it goes to education and it has been increasing. This is about prioritising investment in human capital from primary school, to university, to vocational and technical education."
He told the business leaders: "Invest in Rwanda, in East Africa. Your money will be safe, you will have high returns and the country and our citizens will benefit and we will develop together."
Meanwhile, President Kagame was welcomed to London by hundreds of Rwandans living in the UK who lined the streets across from Savoy Hotel where the summit took place.
Supporters held placards with messages of appreciation for the President's leadership, with many listing Rwanda's accomplishments over the last 20 years, including lifting one million people out of poverty (over the last five years), Rwanda's position as the 10th fastest growing economy in the world, and reiterating Rwandans' choice of dignity, resilience and self reliance.
President Kagame is today scheduled to give a lecture at Chatham House on "Rwanda's role in a changing world", while he is also expected to deliver a keynote address at the UK-Rwanda Business forum tomorrow.