Thursday, 30 May 2013

Kagame tips Africa on clear path to economic growth


President Kagame, South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and AfDB President Donald Kaberuka participate at a high level debate at the Annual Meeting of the African Development Bank in Marrakech. The New Times / Village Urugwiro
President Paul Kagame has called on Africans to do things right to position the continent in its deserved place.
“There is a good ground on which to believe with optimism that Africa can make it to where we want it to be, considering the continent’s resourcefulness. The continent is rich in material and human resource. There is a story we can write. We just got to do things right,” the President made the remarks at a high-level panel discussion dubbed “is this Africa’s hour” during the ongoing 48th Annual Meetings of the African Development Bank (AfDB) in Marrakech, Morocco yesterday.
Kagame was responding to questions from the moderator Komla Dumor, a BBC presenter.  The panel also included Dr. Donald Kaberuka, the president of AfDB, Mo Ibrahim, Founder of Mo Ibrahim Foundation, and Pravin Gordhan, South African Finance Minister.
Comparing countries or regions that have moved to middle income countries and the first world category, the President asked, “What is it in Africa we can’t do the same or even do better?”
The President noted that everything is there in Africa to enable the continent move in the desired direction and level of development.
“However there are certain things we need to do and be able to make that consistency sustainable,” Kagame emphasised.
The President noted that there are still challenges to deal with in Africa, despite the fact that there are huge opportunities, adding that it’s up to Africans to be able to tap into those opportunities and move forward.
The President also highlighted Rwanda’s move to open her borders to Africa where the continent’s nationals travelling to Rwanda get their visas on arrival.
Since January 1, 2013, nationals from all African countries travelling to or transiting through Rwanda are issued with entry visas upon arrival at any Rwandan entry point.
The decision was taken in a bid to remove formalities in visa acquisition from Rwanda’s respective embassies in the travellers’ countries of origin.
“The move to issue visa to African nationals demonstrates that it’s possible, and it carries no dangers to anyone who does it, meaning a country that opens its borders for fellow Africans,” the President said.
Kagame said that, the initiative was benefiting Rwanda because the country was receiving people who either come as tourists or who want to do business and create employment for Rwandans.
“This is for our benefit and we have seen that happen. This raises an issue of bringing Africa together in a practical way rather than talking about it all the time,” he added, “We have seen more people coming to Rwanda across the continent and most of those who are coming are as good as we would have expected and if there is a wrong person coming, the laws of the country will take care of them.”
Kagame warned that the continent won’t realise the needed transformation until people double their efforts to make it happen.
“More of our citizens are the ones frustrated more than we the leaders, which itself is not a good story and if we the leaders got tired of looking at this frustration of our citizens, then we need to be doing better,” the president said.
Leaders, he said, should always measure leadership implementation; delivery on results, having nice stories about different things with no results to show is wastage of time.


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