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“Africa is Not the Price to be Won or Lost for Anyone,”: Paul Kagame to African Leaders

The African continent is not the price to win or lose for anyone, said President Paul Kagame.

The President was speaking at Marrakesh, Morocco, on the occasion of a dinner debate organized in the framework of the 12 th edition of the World Policy Conference (WPC).

Africa is not the price to win or lose for anyone. Not at all. It is our responsibility, as Africans, to take charge of our own interests and develop our continent to reach its full potential. In fact, this has always been the main problem. We have been waiting for far too long, in fact for centuries, “ the Rwandan president said Friday evening.

His comments follow the many reports that developed countries have taken over Africa through their interactions with the continent.

For example, China’s interactions with Africa are often seen as a victory for the Asian nation.

In this context, Paul Kagame called on African countries to move from dependence to self-sufficiency and finally to prosperity. In addition, he proposes several ways to achieve this.

“Trade makes a country’s economy powerful. The search for a comparative advantage generally leads to gains in competitiveness and wealth. That is why, at a certain point, the concept of Aid for Trade has grown in popularity. The idea was to strengthen a country’s trade capacity so that it could move from dependence to self-sufficiency, and ultimately to prosperity. That should have been the approach from the beginning, “ he said.

It is from these ambitions that the continent has come together to eliminate barriers to trade such as barriers to the free movement of people.

“Today, Africa has strong trade relations with the world, whether with Europe, India, North America or China. Indeed, we aspire to more investment and trade with everyone because we will all benefit. That is why it is so important for Africa to unite as a region. Internal barriers to free movement and trade in Africa continue to decline, although much remains to be done .

Sierra Leone is the last country to adopt the visa-in-place policy for African passport holders.

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Africa’s ownership of its interests is also evident throughout the continent’s African Free Trade Area, which is already in place. And trade will start in July 2020.

The continent has also established a peace fund, the African Union Peace Fund, which has so far raised $ 125 million for peace building activities.                                                                              

“This deal will radically reshape the way Africa does business with itself and with the rest of the world. The revitalization of the African Union Peace Fund, which now stands at more than $ 125 million, has enhanced the credibility of Africa’s security partnerships, and it should continue to grow . 

The President also said that the tone of anxiety and defeatism that characterizes most of the world’s political conversation does not reflect the continent’s point of view.

The majority of global economies are increasingly adopting protectionist approaches in their policies, probably because they mistakenly believe that preventing the prosperity of others preserves their standard of living.

“From there, there is only one step towards the mistaken belief that the maintenance of a high standard of living in one place depends on the impediment of others to reach the same level. The barriers rise, the confidence disappears. If I can allow myself to generalize, this pessimism does not resonate in Africa. There is a determination to live a better life for ourselves . 

Rather than being pessimistic, Kagame says countries should take note of progress in areas such as health, connectivity and governance through cooperation.

“We have already seen signs of considerable progress, particularly in the areas of health, connectivity, governance and revenues. It is essential to regain that feeling of hope and optimism … We can be better partners. Which means that all of us, here and everywhere, work together. This will bring us back to a better world, where everyone will benefit . 

Responding to questions from the audience, he stressed the importance of women’s empowerment and gender equality by saying that exclusion of women amounts to excluding more than half of the population from development, which is self-destructive .

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