NEW DELHI - President Paul Kagame yesterday recalled the long history of interaction between Africa and India, in particular the multiple links with East Africa.
This was during his inaugural speech at the opening of the on-going India-Africa Business Partnership Summit, a two-day event organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci), in New Delhi, India.
“Descendants of Indian immigrants became the backbone of commerce and industry and are currently among leading entrepreneurs and industrialists in our region,” Kagame told a gathering that included Indian Minister of External Affairs Pranab Murkhajee and State Minister for Commerce Jairam Ramesh.
President Kagame also spoke of the critical need for African countries to invest in efforts to overcome the continent’s inability to transform its enormous natural and human resources to create prosperity and improved lives for its people.
“In agriculture, mining, petroleum or manufacturing, Africa has to domesticate value-addition processes because that is how wealth is created,” he said.
The President highlighted the new opportunities for mutually beneficial partnerships presented by the rise of successful economies in Asia such as India and called for a “roadmap for an India-Africa collaborative journey, whose ultimate prize is no less than greatly improved lives for our citizens and healthy returns for Indian and African investors.”
Later in the day, Kagame also delivered a lecture on “Imperatives of Nation-Building in Africa: Peace, Security, and Reconciliation,” at a prestigious Indian institution – the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA).
Speaking to members of the institution – diplomats and policy makers, the President spoke about the gains being made progressively by African institutions in consolidating peace and security, and how increased stability is allowing many countries to focus on economic growth and development.
“Today’s Africa is entirely different from the entrenched stereotype of a continent of unending conflict,” he said.
Kagame is expected to conclude his trip today by speaking about the changing global political economy at the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT).
Known today as a business school, IIFT was established by the Indian government in the early 1960s to help professionalize foreign trade management and increase exports.
The President is accompanied by the Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry Monique Nsazabaganwa, and that of the East African Community Affairs, Monique Mukaruliza.