President Paul Kagame has pushed the idea for a single continental funding agenda as a way of increasing African integration and its future prospects on the global scene.
According to President Kagame what has been done to bring the regional economic communities together can be used to pull their resources into one productive continental bloc.
Kagame was today speaking at 4th annual global Business Forum on Africa (AGBF) in Dubai. The forum provides a unique opportunity to listen to leaders engage in inspirational, thought-provoking, and dialogues that shape future of governments and business.
During a panel focusing on the imperative of regional integration in Africa Kagame told the Forum that there was a new ray of hope on the continent.
“History divided the continent and this prevented Africa to be as prosperous as it should have been. Today, Africans are working together more to address security, economic and political concerns despite the divisive history that tore the continent apart for decades,” Kagame said.
Africa’s current integration landscape contains an array of regional economic communities, including eight recognised as building blocks of the African Union.
Despite treaties amongst them, some have not agreed on several issues like a visa free movement across Africa and non-tariff barriers.
Despite pronouncements of support by politicians for regional economic ties, the reality on ground shows slow implementation of regional integration agreements aimed at eliminating tariff and non-tariff barriers in the regions.
“Customs officials and police at roadblocks will make you unload and unpack every little package in order to delay you for hours,” says Lucia Quachey, Secretary-General of the African Federation of Women Entrepreneurs.
The latter is an organisation of more than 4 million women across Africa producing and trading in textiles, pharmaceuticals, and vehicle parts.
Tonye Patrick Cole, a Nigerian billionaire entrepreneur, executive director and co-founder of Sahara Group said that what is needed today in Africa is infrastructure in the digital space.
“Digital infrastructure is the way to go” he said.
Other speakers at AGBF include; Yoweri Museveni, President of Uganda, Arif Amiri, Chief Executive Officer for Dubai International Financial Centre Authority, Ashish J. Thakkar, the Founder of Mara Group and Mara Foundation together with Bob Diamond, Founding Partner and CEO of Atlas Merchant Capital LLC (also Co-Founder and Chairman of Atlas Mara).