Kagame lays out aid reduction plan
KIGALI, Rwanda – President Paul Kagame was at Davos, Switzerland last week for the World Economic Forum and spelt out his vision of reducing Rwanda’s dependency on foreign development aid.
“It starts with the original objective. We have used development aid to ensure we do not keep needing aid. We are not saying we no longer need aid. We are saying we can survive with less aid now than we would have in the past,” Kagame said.
He was speaking at a panel alongside South African President Jacob Zuma, Sunil Bharti Mittal of Bharti Enterprises, Oscar Onyema the Chief Executive Officer of Nigerian Stock Exchange and John Coumantaros the Chairman of Flour Mills of Nigeria.
Kagame said there is need for nations to rely on resources that can be found domestically. He listed steps Rwanda has taken to decrease the percentage of aid needed to fund the national budget:
“Rwanda is investing development aid, building capacity and identifying an area of revenue generation beyond what is got from aid,” he said.
He highlighted the essential role regional integration plays in accelerating and sustaining growth and gave the example of the reduction in the number of days containers take to travel from Mombasa to Rwanda from 22 days to six days. He spoke on the importance of both infrastructure and the political will to be prevalent if progress towards regional integration can be successful.
At a breakfast discussion with business leaders held on the sidelines of the Forum, Kagame repeated Rwanda’s vision of an integrated East African Community. “We are not looking at Rwanda as an island, but as a country that benefits from working with its neighbours,” he said.Speaking on the reconstruction of Rwanda in the past twenty years, Kagame pointed to the resilience of the people and various partnerships as key to Rwanda’s transformation. “Rwanda stands for something. It is a nation that has been built from nothing. It was rebuilt through Rwandans’ resilience but also partnerships with friends,” he said.
He said intra-African collaboration is vitial to solve challenges facing the continent. “We need to allow Africans to move freely across borders and to invest in and with each other. If we do this, the rest will follow. Africa needs to invest in and with each other,” the President said.