The Head of State made the disclosure during a joint press conference alongside Hakainde Hichilema, the President of Zambia. Hichilema recently traveled to Ukraine and Russia as part of a delegation of African leaders to raise a call for an immediate end to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, which started in February 2022.
Kagame said that the war had devastating effects and disrupted the supply of commodities that countries used to import from the warring parties.
He stated that effects of the conflict went beyond both countries to affect African countries including Rwanda among others.
“We should be thinking even more about what we should be doing together , and each of our countries doing their best to make the kinds of investments that will enable us to survive no matter what conflict in other places,” he noted.
“Of course we wish to have no such conflicts or even to end them where they are, but primarily, survive the consequences of that,” added Kagame.
He pointed out an example of inflation, shortage of grains, fertilizers, all kinds of things needed for food or input into agricultural systems occasioned by the war and stressed the need to build resilient economies.
“We can grow grains, we can have grains to feed Zambia, Rwanda and the rest of Africa, especially given the agreements we have signed and the vision we share, of self-sufficiency so that we are able to withstand the storm that comes from different parts of the world,” he stated.
“This is really for me what would be more important but this is not to belittle or minimize the importance of the effort. You, the leaders of the continent, attempted to contribute to the peace that is required in that part of the world also benefiting the rest of the world. [...] But for me, the other one is more important because even if we are solving this problem; […] there is likely to be another conflict somewhere else as we have seen. I am talking as a student of history, an observer, who sees what happens in real life,” added Kagame.
As of today, tensions continue to escalate in various regions around the world, raising concerns about the potential devastating effects that these situations may bring.
Kagame underscored that running after one problem and trying to address it, ‘is necessary to do whenever that is required’, but observed that running after efforts to prevent by ‘creating resilience in our governance, in economies, productivity’ is more important.
“It doesn’t stop people to do something whenever and wherever they can, to try and bring to and end any conflict like that. Even before it affects our economies, it takes people’s lives and really causes tragedies and devastation,” he added.
On his part, President Hichilema said that conflict in one place affects other parts referring to the First or Second World War that started with two countries and proliferated across the globe.
He said that African countries need to be involved in decision making be it for positive reasons and in circumstances of negativity. Hichilema highlighted the need to work as a team but with a focus on direct responsibilities of African nations.
“The supply chains were distorted by COVID-19. We have learnt a lesson from that. Rwanda is going to produce some vaccines as a reaction to consequences of a global crisis such as diseases. To mitigate future outbreaks , we can source drugs within ourselves because those who had the drugs area had to first support their own population when Africa was last in the queue. Out of a crisis, there are things we can do,” he noted.
Hichilema also commended Rwanda and South Africa for taking bold steps along the journey to produce drugs and vaccines on the continent.