Speaking at the ongoing World Economic Forum in Davos, President Paul Kagame has rejected perceptions that Africa is experiencing insecurity and thus not safe for investment.
Kagame, who is among a select 40 presidents from around the world, said “Africa is largely stable,” but also acknowledged the continent “has some problems of insecurity.”
He spoke exclusively at a panel with Sunil Bhartil, CEO of India’s Bharti Enterprises, S. Africa’s President, Jacob Zuma, Executive Director of CNBC, Bronwyn Nielsen, Oscar Onyema, CEO of the Nigerian Stock Exchange and John Coumantaros, Chairman for Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc (FMN).
Kagame insisted Africa present immense opportunities, yet “the issue of perception comes in when there is some level of exaggeration or misinterpretation of Africa.”
In agreement with Kagame, Sunil Bharti Mittal, who has multi-billion dollar investments in Africa, including Rwanda, also said, “Small pockets of terrorism should not scare serious investors.”
President Kagame said despite the ongoing insecurities in some parts of Africa, some countries, such as Rwanda, remain the greatest market frontiers of the modern day.
To reassure investors, he said, “I have no reason to believe things are going to be different in another five to ten years.”
In Rwanda, Kagame said, “We have been transitioning from aid to investment and concentrating on what attracts people to do business with Rwanda.”
A whole range of business obstacles including travel barriers, hinder trade in Africa. “If you are an African traveling in Africa you need more visas than in Europe, you need political will to address this,” said Onyema.
Kagame said, “We need to allow Africans to move freely across borders and to invest in with each other. If we do this, the rest will follow.”
He noted that such obstacles do not only need political, but also proper infrastructure for investment, such as transport and free movement of labour.
“We need infrastructure and political will to make things happen,” he said.
The World Economic Forum’s theme this year is; “The New Global Context”.