COVID-19 pandemic is forcing us to adjust and adapt-Kagame

On 28 July 2021 at 04:26

President Paul Kagame has called on leaders to identify and tap into business opportunities between Africa and the United States of America (USA) drawing attention to young men and women to turn problems into solutions.

Kagame made the call on Wednesday 28th July 2021 at the US-Africa Business Summit - The Corporate Council on Africa.

Like this year, the previous summit also took place virtually in June 2020 due to COVID-19. The council has been considered the voice for private sector engagement between USA and Africa for a quarter century.

As he addressed participants, Kagame reflected on how COVID-19 has brought unprecedented effects and stressed the need to strengthen partnership further.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing us to adjust and adapt. We don’t know how much longer it will be with us. That is why we need even stronger partnership between Africa and the United States,” he said.

USA has committed to provide millions of COVID-19 vaccines through COVAX facility where the first deliveries have already begun to arrive in Africa.

Kagame stated that the donations are not a long-term solution to ‘a global health challenge of such a magnitude, nor do they address the issue of equity’.

“It is therefore a good sign that the United States is preparing to join with partners in Africa through the US Development Finance Corporation and other agencies, to support local manufacturing of vaccines and other pharmaceuticals,” he noted.

Kagame highlighted that Africa is doing its part with imminent entry into force of the Africa Medicines Agency treaty, which will create continental regulatory body to reinforce national regulators.

“This presents tremendous opportunity for companies on both sides of the Atlantic. We have already seen examples of how this kind of collaboration can produce innovations that impact the entire world,” he said.

“A few years ago, a small start-up from California called Zipline approached Rwanda about piloting a futuristic technology to deliver blood supplies to remote hospitals using drones,” he added.

Zipline started operating in Rwanda since 2016 with headquarters in Kayinza and Muhanga districts and makes deliveries to 260 health centers.

After proving concept in Rwanda, Kagame said, Zipline expanded not only elsewhere in Africa but also to Japan and the United States itself, where engineers and technicians from Rwanda reinforce the company’s global operations.

“The company is now valued in the billions of dollars. Let us use the urgency of this moment to identify similar opportunities for partnership between Africa and the Unites States, focusing especially on the young men and women on both our continents who see solutions, where others only see problems,” enthused Kagame.

The summit held for the 13th time brought together over 1000 leading US and African private sector executives, senior government officials and heads of state among others.

The theme of this year’s summit is “New Pathways to a Stronger US-Africa Economic Partnership” and will focus on the unique opportunity for the new US Administration and its African partners to reset and redefine their relationship, working together to shape the path for economic recovery needed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

President Paul Kagame has called on leaders to work together to identify and tap into business opportunities between Africa and the United States.