The President was speaking at a panel discussion under the topic, ?Achieving Africa?s Growth Agenda,? at the ongoing World Economic Forum Annual General Meeting in Davos, Switzerland.
The panel also included South African President Jacob Zuma, Sunil Bharti Mittal of Bharti entreprises, Oscar Onyema, the chief executive of Nigerian Stock Exchange, and John Coumantaros, chair of Flour Mills of Nigeria.
Commenting on the perceptions of the continent versus the reality on the ground, Kagame said Africa was mainly stable despite some problems, adding that reality and perceptions will often cross paths in a sense until one finds out details.
?The issue of perception comes in when there is some level of exaggeration or misinterpretation,? the President said.
He called on African countries to collaborate to deal with threats to peace and stability of the continent and not allow such challenges to derail the continent?s journey to stability.
?We have to begin from the basic principle that there has to be stability and where we have problems we have to get together to sort it out,? Kagame said.
Asked about Rwanda?s decreased dependence on aid, he said the country?s strategy was focused on transitioning from aid to investment.
?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.?
President Kagame pointed to the importance of identifying resources:
Investing development aid, building capacity and identifying an area of revenue generation beyond what we get from aid.
The President commented on the role of integration in the continent?s development, saying it was time to allow Africans to move freely across borders and to invest in and with each other.
He cited the East African region as an example of how much could be achieved with collaboration, noting that coupled with infrastructure development and political willingness, logistics had now been eased.
Goods can now be moved from Mombasa, Kenya, to Kigali in six days as opposed to the 22 days it previously took.
Sunil Bharti of Bharti Enterprises, a leading investor in telecommunication in the continent, said contrary to what was being portrayed about the continent, Africa was open for business.
Citing the example of Rwanda, Bharti said some places in the continent had the fundamental of a proper investment environment such as a stable regime and ease in doing business.
?Small pockets of terrorism should not scare serious investors,? Bharti said.
Earlier, Kagame chaired a breakfast roundtable of business leaders to discuss business opportunities in Rwanda, where he highlighted the importance of resilience in rebuilding a country.
?Rwanda stands for something. It is a nation that has been built from nothing. Rwanda was rebuilt through Rwandans? resilience but also partnerships with friends.
?This is what we have done for ourselves and with partnerships, to become prosperous, free and integrated with the world,? the President added when asked what he envisioned next generations of Rwandans would say about their country.
He concluded the morning discussion by inviting participants to be part of Rwanda?s story.
The three day forum, which opened yesterday, is running under the theme, ?The New Global Context,? with discussions centred around global challenges affecting today?s world.
The thematic areas include environment and resource scarcity, employment skills and human capital, gender parity, long-term investing, infrastructure and development; food security, among others.
Collins Mwai, The New Times