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Rwandan President Kagame Makes a Case for Investment in Africa

Rwandan President Kagame said that Africa is open to business partnerships with the rest of the world and has since improved in openness and was moving as a bloc toward a free trade area.

President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, has called for increased investment in Africa, saying that countries on the continent understand the importance of foreign direct investments on their economies and have been working to create a friendly environment.

Kagame was speaking on Thursday evening in New York, United States at an NBA Board of Governors meeting that attracted NBA club owners and executives.

The President said that Africa is open to business partnerships with the rest of the world and has since improved in openness and was moving as a bloc toward a free trade area.

“Africans are beginning to understand that there are certain things we have to get for ourselves as they seek partnerships with the rest of the world,” the Head of State said.

Kagame said that the African continent has also been rolling out several integration initiatives further improving the business conditions.

“Africa is open to doing business with the rest of the world, Africa has a lot to offer,” he said.

He added: We are seeing increased openness, we have created a continental free trade area with 50 African countries signing up to that, with a number of them having already ratified the agreement.”

“We have brought Africa together and united it through regional integration. This is of interest to Africa but should be of interest to the United States and other partners as well.”

The President told the American investors in presence that the right moment to invest on the continent would be now because their ventures would grow with the continent.

“This is the moment to invest in Africa. You don’t have to wait, invest now and grow with Africa as it grows,” the Head of State added.

Kagame said that one of the benefits of investing in Africa is the demographic dividend, with a majority of the population being youthful.

The President also shared insights into Rwanda’s recovery following the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, which claimed over one million lives.

He said that after the Genocide almost everything was a priority for the country considering the destruction.

“Everything was a priority and the biggest challenge was where do you start from? We started from scratch, we started by putting pieces together, bringing people back together, justice, security, rebuilding schools,” he said.

Over time, Kagame said, the country was able to create its own unique solutions and roll out initiatives which helped promote unity and reconciliation.

“In a period of 12 years, we created a justice system based on our tradition where we tried over one million people. We look back and find that national unity has been holding, justice has taken place, there has been forgiving,” he said.

Earlier Thursday, President Kagame held talks with the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email marketing@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].

Africa’s New Free Trade Deal Has Enough Signatories to Go Into Force

It is now official: Africa’s free trade agreement has drawn enough signatures to go into operation.

On Tuesday (Apr. 2), The Gambia’s parliament was the 22nd nation to ratify the agreement, the minimum threshold expected to approve the deal among the 55 member states of the African Union. The move posits a major step forward for the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which was created last March in Rwanda. The trade agreement is set to become operational within a month after the required number of endorsements are deposited with the AU chairperson’s office.

Once in place, the AfCFTA will cover a market of 1.2 billion people and a combined gross domestic product of $2.5 trillion—making it the world’s largest free trade area since the formation of the World Trade Organization seven decades ago. African leaders hope the agreement will eliminate current high tariffs, generate employment opportunities for a rapidly growing young workforce, and harmonize the work of already-existing regional economic communities. It could also enhance intra-African trade by 52.3% annually, according to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).

“Posterity will recall this day,” the ex-president of the African Development Bank Donald Kaberuka wrote on Twitter. His sentiments were shared by the former executive secretary of UNECA Carlos Lopes who wrote, “Africa made it.” Lopes noted that it took the continent a year to operationalize the trade deal, “an absolute record for these type of agreements.”

Trade deals have a reputation for being slow and drawn-out affairs, with the European Union-Canada deal, for instance, taking seven years to negotiate after being 22 years in the making.

Yet not all is rosy with the historic free trade agreement. Africa’s largest economy Nigeria—along with Benin and Eritrea—is yet to sign the agreement, presumably due to pressure from trade and labor unions. Only 15 out of the 22 nations that have ratified the agreement have also submitted their ratification documents at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa.

Private sector leaders have also expressed their concern about how the deal will be executed and if governments will be bold enough to move the deal forward. “The challenges are going to be in the implementation,” Naguib Sawiris, the executive chairman of the Egyptian investment holding Orascom said at the Africa CEO Forum in Kigali, Rwanda last week.

In a speech at the same conference, Rwandan president Paul Kagame said making sure AfCFTA succeeds represents “the very highest consequence for Africa’s future.” He acknowledged the role of politics and policy in driving countries and the continent forward, stating that he reached out to Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari to sign the deal.

“Whatever we try to do, even in terms of economic development, the result comes back to the politics surrounding it,” he said. “If the politics is bad, everything else is bad. That is why open, responsive, and accountable governance is so critical.”

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email marketing@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].