Africa ought to be a player and stakeholder on the global scene, as opposed to frequently getting caught up in power games among other international actors, President Paul Kagame has said.
The President made these remarks in Los Angeles, USA at the 2019 Milken Institute Global Conference during a panel discussion dubbed “Global Overview: Measuring the Winds of Change.”
The conference brings together over three thousand participants, 600 panelists and 140 sessions.
Participants include public and private sector leaders from across the world who exchange ideas on innovative solutions to global challenges.
The panel that was moderated by Nicholas Kristof, Columnist, The New York Times included former Congresswoman, Jane Harman – the current Director, President, and CEO, the Wilson Center; H.E Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda; Former UK First Secretary of State and EU Trade Commissioner Lord Mandelson, Chairman, Global Counsel; and Michael Pillsbury, Director, Center on Chinese Strategy, Hudson Institute; Author, “The Hundred-Year Marathon”
President Kagame said that Africa needs to get its act together so as to be able to get to a position where it is a player on the global stage as opposed to being caught up in power games among international actors.
“Africa needs to get its act together and be a place that can raise its stakes higher than where it is. Do as much as possible to be one of the players on the global scene instead of being caught up in power games we see across the world,” he said.
The Rwandan president said that the African continent considers Western Countries as partners or investors of choice in Africa.
“Africa, my own country, look to the West as partners of choice, or investors of choice in Africa. If the West was doing investments that are required in Africa the way they should be, then Africa will stop being caught in this trap or competition,” he said.
Kagame allayed fears and concerns by a section of Western countries in regards to China’s involvement in Africa.
“The problem of anxiety by the west relating to China’s involvement in Africa has more to do with the West than with Africa. The competition between the US, the industrialized world with China finds Africa caught between China and the West,” Kagame said.
Adding that, “Africa ought to be viewed as a party with its own needs and interests.”
Increasingly, there have been concerns over Africa’s debt exposure with perceptions that the continent’s largest creditor is the Asian Nation.
Kagame said that growing concerns that China was burdening Africa with debt were unfounded.
“Africa has not had debt from China only. Debt forgiveness was there because there was debt. The question is what Africa has been doing with this debt… Saying we are worried Africa will be trapped in debt with China, sounds like concern for Africa by outsiders rather than Africa being concerned for its own well-being,” Kagame said.
He also addressed assumptions that corruption is only limited to the two parties –Africa and China- saying that it was not true.
“The assumption here is that corruption is confined to China and Africa, and that the west does not get involved in corruption, which is not true. Nobody should give an excuse for corruption, it should be fought wherever it comes from and that is what we have been trying to do in our countries and in other African countries,” he said.
The Milken Institute, founded in 1990s by Michael Milken and Lowell Milken is a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank determined to increase global prosperity by advancing collaborative solutions that widen access to capital, create jobs and improve health. They do this through independent, data-driven research, action-oriented meetings, and meaningful policy initiatives.