Moving from humanitarian mindset to investment is key, says Kagame
President Paul Kagame has said that the African Union reforms and initiatives are picking up pace and having significant impact towards the transformation of the organisation and the continent.
Kagame was speaking at the Mo Ibrahim Foundation Board Meeting in London which was attended by a number of current and former heads of state and government as well as eminent persons from across the continent.
The meeting brings together participants from public and private sector to discuss subjects pertaining to Africa including African Union reforms, Africa Continental Free Trade Area and Africa’s economic transformation.
President Kagame, who is the current chairperson of the AU, said that the Union’s institutional and financial reforms process is making steady progress.
So far, he noted that the budget for the coming year had been reduced by 12 per cent while share of funds contributed by member states had increased significantly.
“The institutional and financial reform has been going on and is on track. The African Union budget for next year is 12 per cent lower while the share of funds contributed by member states has increased significantly.
“People are no longer just wasting the limited resources. Countries are learning to do what has to be done and are taking responsibility and paying up their contributions,” President Kagame said.
He also said that misunderstandings about the reforms process have since been cleared making room for implementation of the reforms.
“The last Summit we had in Mauritania was productive and cordial. It helped clear some misunderstandings that had been going on around the reforms. The misunderstandings clouding the process have been addressed. There is little risk of the reform being reversed. Progress may be slower than we want it to be, but its making progress,” Kagame said.
Kagame also cited progress in the geopolitical context, whereby the continent was increasingly speaking with one voice as opposed to multiple factions.
Among the impacts of the development he noted was a resolution to be introduced at the United Nations Security Council that would see African Union-mandated peacekeeping missions receive support from the UN.
In regards to Africa’s partnership with the rest of the world, Kagame said that growing nationalism in various parts of the world called for a more efficient Union to ensure less external reliance.
On relations with China, the President noted that growing fears that Beijing was keen on trapping African nations with debt are uninformed and that the continent should seek to have productive ties with the Asian nation for mutual benefit.
On immigration, Kagame said that it was important for both Europe and Africa to move beyond the humanitarian mindset and instead shift to making Africa a priority destination for industrial investment thus creating more opportunity within the continent.
“The key for both sides, Europe and Africa, is to move beyond the humanitarian mindset and instead focus the relationship on making Africa a priority destination for industrial investment, possibly working in a tripartite fashion.
“Why not have Europe, Africa, and China working together instead of having one worried about the other over Africa. You have Europe worried about China in Africa and then you have China worrying about Europe in Africa. Since Africa is a common denominator we could maybe meet around that and find some way,” President Kagame said.