President Kagame Identifies Obstacles to Africa’s Progress

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Rwandan President Paul Kagame has identified instability in parts of Africa, high energy cost, transport, fragmented and non-integrated economies, and a high dependency on primary commodities as some of the well-known obstacles hindering Africa’s progress.

In his statement at the formal opening of the 49th Annual Meeting of the African Development Bank on May 22, 2014, President Kagame acknowledged, “Africa is one of the few places in the world that has a lot of room to grow-more businesses are taking notice globally.  But Africa has always had the attributes necessary to rise.  So, why have we fallen short?”

Taking a specific look at how instability affects growth and development in Africa, the President said difficult situations around the continent today remind Africans that progress can always be reversed, noting, “Together we may rise or together we may fall.”

He added, “We are responsible for ourselves.  But we are also, to some extent, responsible for each other.  Instability in any part of Africa affects us all.  That is why we have seen increased engagement by African leaders, the African Union, and regional organizations in peace and security matters on the continent.”

President Kagame noted that further progress depends on Africa’s ability to work together and with other partners on meaningful mechanisms to resolve conflicts, which he said calls for continued strengthening of respective internal systems to prevent conflicts in the first place.

Unveiling some measures his government has taken in tackling some of the problems he identified, President Kagame said there are projects to the north of Rwanda handled by Kenya, Uganda, and his country for rail and energy infrastructure development.

He said these projects streamlined custom procedures as well as easing free movement of citizens in the three countries.

On the African Development Bank, President Kagame underscored it as a global institution he considers as an essential bridge between Africa and the wider world.

“It keeps the focus on Africa’s unique economic priorities, yet speaks a language everyone understands,” he added.

He said the African Development Bank is a model of how Africa and the developed world can work together for mutual benefit and with mutual respect.

Rwanda is one country in Africa praised for making maximum use of loans and grants AfDB gives out to member countries.

AfDB report shows that grants and loans provide Rwanda are being used to improve infrastructures and the country is among three fast growing economies.

Economy report of Rwanda shows that the country heavily relies on Agriculture and Tourism to support its economy, and with the help of AfDB’s loans and grants, it has constructed roads and public buildings and millions of citizens have been lifted out of poverty.

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