EDITORIAL: Kagame-Trump meeting was not about whipping a dead horse

President Paul Kagame yesterday met US President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland. Kagame is the incoming chairman of the African Union and in his meeting with Trump stood for Africa as much as he did for Rwanda. As the media reported, the interaction revolved around US-Africa relations and trade.

President Paul Kagame yesterday met US President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland.

Kagame is the incoming chairman of the African Union and in his meeting with Trump stood for Africa as much as he did for Rwanda. As the media reported, the interaction revolved around US-Africa relations and trade.

Controversy seems to follow Trump wherever he goes and his WEF trip diverted the media’s attention on the raison d’etre of the annual Davos meeting that leans more towards global trade and economic growth and not controversies and feeding the tabloids.

It was, therefore, not a major surprise when the mainstream media’s reports on the Kagame –Trump meeting ignored the key subject of the meet – Africa-US relations – and instead pounced on the fact that Kagame had not raised the issue of Trump’s alleged vulgar language he recently used to describe African countries and Haiti.

The African Union made known its position of the Trump “sh****le” affair, there was therefore no need to revisit the issue when there were much more important issues to discuss.

Africa should not continue playing the victim but must stand tall and defend its turf even under the most uncomfortable conditions. Trump’s words were relegated to the back row as Africa needs to move forward and not sit in the corner sulking because someone stole its dignity.

WEF has played an important role in Rwanda’s development. The country has learnt from the best economic brains, heeded some of their advice and transformed. That is how important Davos is to the country and when its leaders go there, it is to share developmental ideas and not petty banter.

The attention now shifts to the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, where Kagame takes over the chairmanship of the African Union. It is there that he will brief his peers on his discussions with Trump and what the future holds regarding the continent’s relations with the US under Trump’s watch.

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