LONDON - President Paul Kagame has urged developed countries to consult African countries and the developing world, before making economic decisions that affect them.
He made the call yesterday during a meeting that brought together in London African government officials and business leaders ahead of the G-8 Summit that is slated for Italy tomorrow.
“In that spirit, I invite those in the leadership of the G-8 to recognize that others have something to offer, especially on the issues that affect their own lives,” said President Kagame.
The G-8 comprises of the most developed and industrialised countries, the same nations that form the biggest part of donor community to the developing countries.
“Together, we need to develop broader and more effective consultative processes that genuinely integrate our vision of our own destiny, into your planning.”
“People in developing nations are less convinced, these days – that Western help is motivated by altruism. Some think that the rhetoric of free markets is a cover for protecting the commercial interests of wealthy nations.”
While saying that it is not appropriate for him to speak on behalf of all of Africa, he said that there were continental leaders and other leaders in different spheres including business and the civil society who are ready to assume the mantle of their own people’s destiny.
Kagame told the leaders that now the less developed world sees that some benefits of privatisation in poor nations have often gone to well-off countries.
“They see that the medicine you compelled East Asian nations to take a decade ago, during their banking crisis, seems not to be the medicine you are willing to ask your own citizens to swallow,” said Kagame who jetted in the British capital on Sunday.
He urged business leaders to make a right choice by investing in Africa.
"We seek those who are willing to build their core processes and core products in Africa, to find new market segments all over the world, to build new distribution systems and to invest in the greatest possibility of superior returns," he said.
While outlining Rwanda’s achievements in just a few years, Kagame said that some people appear ‘confused’ by what the country has accomplished.
“When our recent elections placed a world-leading 56% of women into our parliament, making it perhaps, one of the world’s most progressive deliberative bodies; a small number were perplexed.”
He said that these critics could not imagine that the same women, who sit together on Rwanda’s hillsides, weaving the peace baskets, have a potential to sit in parliament and create legislation as intricate and profound.
“It is as if some can never agree that something good can come out of Africa--that we might indeed, lead the world in something good,” said Kagame, who was guest of honour at the forum.
Organised by the Commonwealth Business Council, the forum was aimed at developing practical partnerships in business across the African continent and its results are expected to be tabled before the G-8.