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‘Mutually Beneficial Partnership or No Deal’ – Rwanda’s President Kagame Speaks for the Continent

The president of Rwanda Paul Kagame has called for a redefinition of the relationship between Europe and Africa aimed at mutually beneficial partnership rather than the old order of “generosity” to the continent.

“Africa has resources that can be brought into partnerships with Europe which bring a win-win situation for everyone. In my view we should have a conversation about what Africa brings to the partnership and how what Europe has been offering can be offered differently, so that we get the results we want.

“Europeans should view Africans as partners and not beneficiaries of their generosity. People of Africa have to be able to look after themselves and look at what is required to meet global demands and the expectations of our people,” he said at the High-Level Africa-Europe Forum in Vienna, Austria on Tuesday.

Kagame co-chaired the forum in his capacity as the African Union Chairman, alongside Austria’s Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz who is also the president of the Council of the European Union.

Held under the theme, Taking Cooperation to the Digital Age, Kagame explained further that a mutually beneficial partnership will also address critical global concerns such as migration by boosting innovation and private-sector exchange that will among other things create jobs for young citizens.

“We are not going to measure success solely in terms of migration statistics. A much better yardstick is how creating high-quality, digital jobs in Africa will also boost job growth in Europe. After all youth employment is an urgent priority for both our continents,” he said.

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Kagame said Africa is preparing to grow its economy through initiatives including the Continental Free Trade Area Agreement which will liberalize trade on the continent and link Africa’s digital infrastructure.

He also said at a Political Leaders meeting that all nations need to look past any differences that may exist among them and to build on positive elements.

“We want to address and transcend the past by looking forward, and also transcend any differences that exist within or across nations for various reasons, while building on the positive elements of our shared historical inheritance,” he was quoted by local Rwandan media New Times.

He stressed on the importance of a solid partnership that will deal with critical global issues such as security, migration, climate change and economic progress without being affected by political rivalries.

The forum was attended by Heads of State and Government, CEOs, the African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat and the President of the European Council Jean- Claude Juncker.

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