Corruption is not an African norm, Kagame says

President Paul Kagame has demystified common misconceptions about Africa such as the extent of corruption saying that such occurrences are not a characteristic of the continent. President Kagame was speaking at the Corporate Council on Africa at a session dubbed 'Presidential Dialogue on the Future of US-Africa Business' in New York on the Sidelines of the ongoing United Nations General Assembly.

President Paul Kagame has demystified common misconceptions about Africa such as the extent of corruption saying that such occurrences are not a characteristic of the continent. 

President Kagame was speaking at the Corporate Council on Africa at a session dubbed 'Presidential Dialogue on the Future of US-Africa Business' in New York on the Sidelines of the ongoing United Nations General Assembly.

Kagame said that often, there are misconceptions about the continent which often get in the way of Africa’s ability to do business with the rest of the world. 

He said that most occurrences on the continent are not unique to the continent and happen elsewhere in the world and only differs in presentation leading to misconceptions. 

“A lot of what happens in Africa, happens around the world,” Kagame said.

Among the most popular misconceptions about Africa is the extent of corruption which has led some multi-nationals to shy away from investing in the continent.

In some cases, some international investors have made budgetary provisions for bribes when coming to invest on the continent. 

The head of state demystified the popular perception that corruption is a norm in Africa stating that even when it occurs, it often involves non-Africans.

“In fact, in Africa when corruption occurs, it involves non-Africans. Corruption is not African, it’s just corruption. People have developed a misconception that corruption is the way of life in Africa. This is far from the truth,” he said. 

He called on the rest of the world to adjust their viewpoint on Africa and begin looking at the continent as a potential business destination.

“The rest of the world should see Africa as a partner. A place to do business with,” Kagame noted.

The continent is often viewed as a potential beneficiary of donations and handouts as opposed to a business destination.

Highlighting Rwanda’s efforts to improve the business environment and attract investors, the president said that much has been done to see to it that doing business is comfortable.

“In Rwanda we have ensured that doing business is as comfortable. We have done so by looking at improving the regulatory framework, governance, fighting corruption and so on,” he added. 

He noted that the government has also made efforts to reduce the cost of doing business for the private sector. 

Rwanda has also sought partnerships in undertaking various ventures inspired by the understanding that the country cannot succeed alone, Kagame told the audience.

“We are aware that we can’t do everything, so where we are unable to succeed alone, we seek partnerships elsewhere,” he noted. 

Rwanda has also embarked on an industrialization path to see the country produce more products locally as opposed to solely relying on imports.

“We have to build on the fact that many things can be done at home. We have to industrialize. This should be the mindset. Whatever we do must be done to the highest standards, in order to render it competitive in price and quality,” the president said. 

Rwandan and African products in general, Kagame said can compete on a global scale. 

President Kagame had earlier in the day attended the opening session of the UN General Assembly.

On the sidelines of the UNGA, the president has also held meetings with a number of world leaders including Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Belgium Charles Michel and French President Emmanuel Macron.

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