President Paul Kagame says the election of President Donald Trump in the U.S. might be good for Africa, although it is still too early to tell.
The President was on March 07 speaking at the inaugural Wall Street Journal Conference on Investing in Africa in London.
He was responding to a question, during a question and answer session, concerning what Africa expected from President Trump’s administration.
The conference was hosted by The Wall Street Journal’s Editor-In-Chief Gerard Baker, and EMEA Editor Thorold Barker.
Baker asked President Kagame to offer a perspective on Africa’s past, present, and future.
Kagame said since it seemed that Americans were still figuring out their President, it would take Africans much longer to figure out what to expect from the new administration in the U.S. But he said it might have some good in it for Africa.
“It would be too early to judge President Trump’s administration now but probably something good might come out for us because it is not babysitting we want.
“Maybe African might be pushed to learn a few lessons and do what they should have started long ago, which is to start working towards self-reliance,” the President said.
Kagame said, in any case, even before Trump’s election, there was never a clear U.S- Africa policy.
The President added: “Our interest as Africa is not to have people to do things for Africa but with Africa”.
“People should realise that working together actually leads to people fulfilling their interests, as opposed to one entity assuming they are doing the other a favour”.
President Trump has signaled that he will pursue a more aggressive U.S isolationist policy which will possibly cut down on the bilateral aid and investment incidents that have been extended to Africa by previous administrations.
Analysts say, however, that American bilateral aid to Africa is quite miniscule in the bigger scheme of American planning and might not attract Trump’s interest.
Instead, it is argued, the actions of holders of the African desk at the state department are the real issues to watch instead of Trump.
In the past the American African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) has been the flagship of U.S. trade support to Africa.
Other U.S interventions have included the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) which targeted an HIV/AIDS free generation in Africa.
There is fear that this could become a major target of the Trump administration anti-abortion and family planning stance.
Addressing specifically the issue of how his RPF government has been able to reverse the tragedy of the 1994 genocide and turn Rwanda into a model of economic success and social-political inclusion, President Kagame attributed the success to unity of the Rwandan people.
“The keyword is putting the people of Rwanda at the centre of everything, implementing policies to fit their needs and desires,” he said.
The daylong conference featured one-on-one interviews, panel discussions and themed lunch table discussions, all hosted by the Journal’s editors, who drew on their knowledge of influential leaders to explore key challenges and opportunities in Africa.
Other participants featured included Patrick Njoroge, Governor, Central Bank of Kenya, Akinwumi Adesina, President, African Development Bank, Mo Ibrahim, Chairman, Mo Ibrahim Foundation. Other included Uche Orji,Managing Director and CEO, Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority, Bob Collymore, CEO, Safaricom, Jay Ireland, President and CEO, GE Africa and Alon Lits, General Manager, Uber Sub-Saharan Africa.
The conference was organised to discuss technology, transition and growth, at the News Building in London Bridge, where leading investors, executives and government officials convened to discuss how technology is driving change and investment in Africa, and to examine the economic and political landscape in-depth. Its lead sponsor was Citi, together with Dubai Chamber.
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