NYARUGENGE - President Paul Kagame, yesterday, said that the rise in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Rwanda from within Africa is not accidental but a result of the increasingly conducive investment environment on the continent.
The President made these remarks as he officially opened the East Africa International Business Forum, at the Kigali Serena Hotel.
The International Business Forum, organised by the Commonwealth Business Council in collaboration with the East African Business Council and the Rwanda Development Board, opened yesterday and is scheduled to end today.
It brings together a cross-section of government leaders from East Africa, international and local business executives and heads of International Financial Institutions.
In his opening remarks, President Kagame, challenged Africans to prove cynics wrong by sustaining good economic growth rates and meaningful partnerships between their governments and business, in order to realise a paradigm shift from development aid to the creation of dynamic markets, greater trade and supportive public policies.
Kagame made a link to the rise in FDI’s in view of the fact that Africa is boosting the formation of and the expansion of entrepreneurial start-ups with a regional reach.
“It is not accidental for instance that we are witnessing in Rwanda, significant investment from within Africa – Nigerian companies in banking, South African firms in ICT, Libyan interests in the telecom sector, and Kenyan investors in tourism and services industry, to give but a few examples,” said the President.
He implored African markets to prove pessimists wrong – by sustaining good economic growth rates and meaningful partnerships between governments and business, in order to realise a paradigm shift from development aid to the creation of dynamic markets, greater trade and supportive public policies.
The President showed optimistic in the ability of the African continent to make considerable effort in this regard, “as one observer recently put it, Africa, ‘is feeling its way towards the emerging markets’ – in reference to the continent’s financial markets, in particular, stock exchanges.”
To make his point President Kagame, quoted the Goldman Sachs’s report “Africa Rising” published in January this year, in which fifteen African stock markets, excluding South Africa, list around five hundred companies.
“Increasingly, international brokerage firms, fund managers, and private equity traders are investing in these markets – a definite vote of confidence in our continent’s economic prospects,” he said.
The President also pointed out to the fact that the Forum was not only relevant to East Africa but also to the regional economic blocs; the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), pointing to the just concluded Tripartite Summit in Kampala.
The forum was also addressed by the President of the East African Business Council, Reginald Mengi, Vice President for Africa, International Finance Corporation, Thierry Tanoh and the Deputy CEO Rwanda Development Board, Francis Gatare.