Africa well positioned for global integration
President Paul Kagame has said that with Africa now focusing on cooperation and integration, there are chances the continent will increasingly become globally relevant and produce better outcomes.
Kagame was speaking in Davos, Switzerland at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting at a session dubbed: Africa’s Leadership in the New Global Context with South Africa’s President, Cyril Ramaphosa and moderated by World Bank Group Chief Executive Officer Kristalina Georgieva.
Talking about Africa’s readiness to take leadership in changing contexts, Kagame said that the continent is more than ever before concerned about driving integration.
“Africa is talking more and more about integration. There is a realisation that if you look at countries individually, even big countries are small when you think about global events,” he said.
This, he said, would see individual countries emerge stronger from various engagement including trade.
“The (African) continent’s regional exports are at 42 per cent while exports with the rest of the world are at 15 per cent, this shows you the potential of our continent. Each country complements the other so that we come out as winners,” he said.
The President added that the much-desired change and transformation will also be delivered by embracing technology and empowering young people.
This, he added, can be driven by political will and the mindset to innovate as well as invest in the skills and infrastructure to build the digital economy.
“It always starts with a change in mindset and political will. Young people are hungry for what will make a difference in their lives, not necessarily being connected for the sake of it but connecting through business to make profit or trading,” he said.
This, he said, also involves holistic investment in human capital, including education and healthcare.
“This is the holistic capital we are talking about from the early childhood education programs. If they lose out on this stage, they may never catch up,” he observed.
Echoing Kagame’s sentiments, Ramaphosa said that often, African governments have been too slow to embrace new trends and adopt the digital revolution.
He added that this is the ideal time to drive digital education for skills development.
On the sidelines of the yearly forum, the President also held various meetings including with Botswana’s President, Dr. Mokgweetsi Masisi and First Lady Neo Jane Masisi, Prime Minister of Armenia, Nikol Pashinyan, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, Professor Klaus Schwab, Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation of the Netherlands, Sigrid Kaag, Vice Chairman of Mastercard, Michael Froman, Executive Director of World Food Program, David Beasley, President of Nanyang University of Technology, Subra Suresh, lead vocalist of rock band U2 Bono and members of Global shapers.