President Kagame: Africans must connect easily despite Covid-19 pandemic
President Paul Kagame on Tuesday, December 8, made the case for continued collaboration among African countries, which he said will be critical for the continent to emerge from the current Covid-19 period in safety and prosperity.
The head of state was speaking virtually at the Kusi Ideas Festival, 2020 Edition, which is currently underway in Kenya.
The two-day meeting brought together high ranking officials including Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta, as well as Kenya’s former Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
Founded by the Nation Media Group, the Kusi Ideas Festival is an annual international conference that seeks to build a “Pan-African ideas transaction market” to capitalize on the opportunities and innovations available to Africa to help it win the 21st Century.
Rwanda hosted the first edition of the Festival in December 2019.
This year’s conference is being held under the theme; “Towards a Post-Covid Africa: Recovering Together”.
Kagame noted that there has been a lot of speculation about why Africa is handling the Covid-19 pandemic better than expected.
“What really matters is that lessons we have learned and the solutions we have applied will help us to recover together,” he said.
The head of state stressed the importance of collaboration among African nations, citing the African Continental Free Trade Area which is supposed to enhance intra-Africa trade as an example.
“We have to make this a reality by staying on track with the African Continental Free Trade Area and everything else we have aspired to do together,” he said.
“We will only get there if we harness the power of technology,” he added.
Kagame highlighted that in East Africa, countries possess the natural talent to create innovative solutions that will generate wealth for the growing population.
“We must find new ways to invest in infrastructure, in our people and in an enabling political and business environment”.
Kagame shared Rwanda’s experience saying that, “In Rwanda, we have learned that progress comes from ensuring participation and inclusivity.”
The head of state commended the festival saying that it continues to be stimulating and inspiring for the entire region.
He also pledged Rwanda’s support towards the homegrown African initiative.
This year’s edition of Kusi Ideas Festival was held in the form of a hybrid in-person and virtual conference and specifically examined the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on African economies and livelihoods.
Other Rwandan speakers at the high level meeting included Dr Sabin Nsanzimana, the Director General of Rwanda Biomedical Centre, Clare Akamanzi, the CEO of Rwanda Development Board, Shivon Byamukama, the Managing Director, Babyl Rwanda and Nathalie Munyampenda, the CEO of Kepler.