Kagame: What Rwanda can do, other Africans can as well
President Kagame is received by the Prime Minister of China, Wen Jiabao, in Tianjin, 11 September 2012. The meeting is among various high level encounters the President has had on his Asia tour (Photo: PPU)
President Paul Kagame on Tuesday challenged other African countries that there is nothing impossible about making their economies globally competitive – but have to â€œwork very hardâ€.
Speaking on a panel discussing “Championing Competitiveness; What is driving the success of competitiveness champions across the global”, at the World Economic Forum in Tianjin â€“ China, President Kagame said â€˜it’s not an exaggeration to say Africa has potential to achieve competitivenessâ€™.
â€œIf Rwanda can achieve this in terms of competitiveness, many African countries can do it if they focus and work very hard,â€ said Kagame.
The President was on the panel with Singaporeâ€™s leader and the Danish Prime Minister â€“ among others. The Session streamed live online, begun with input from all the speakers and then followed by questions from the audience.
President Kagameâ€™s comments were in reference to the 2013 Global Competitive Index (GCI) released last week in which Rwanda emerged top compared to EAC partners and 3rd on the African continent. The annual index is compiled by the World Economic Forum (WEF).
â€œAs do the other comparatively successful African countries, Rwanda benefits from strong and relatively well-functioning institutions, with very low levels of corruptionâ€¦ and a good security environment,â€ reads the report in part on page 41.
â€œ[Rwandaâ€™s] labor markets are efficient, its financial markets are relatively well developed, and Rwanda is characterized by a capacity for innovation that is quite good for a country at its stage of development.â€
The annual Global Competitive Index says the virtually non-existent levels of corruption are â€œan outcome that is certainly related to the governmentâ€™s non-tolerance policyâ€.
Asked on the WEF panel what Rwanda is doing to cover the skills gap, President Kagame said outstanding academic institutions like Carnegie Mellon University had opened campuses to provide the necessary skills in information technology and other technical expertise. Companies are coming to take advantage of this development, said Kagame.
The President also said much of what Rwanda has been able to achieve was because of regional integration. â€œWe have learned to overcome challenges as a region than each dealing with their problems separately,â€ said Kagame.
The President has been in Asia since the weekend where he has held various high level talks with Chinaâ€™s leaders and taken part in a major panel discussion in Hong Kong.
In the meeting with the Chinese Premier, President Kagame was accompanied by senior Rwanda government officials (Photo: PPU)