The risk profile for Africa is deliberately exaggerated – President Kagame

By Wycliffe Nyamasege
On 17 May 2024 at 07:47

President Paul Kagame says Africa’s risk profile is deliberately exaggerated to benefit foreign powers with vested interests.

Kagame made the remarks during the second day of the Africa CEO Forum while responding to a question regarding the perceived level of risk or instability attributed to the continent, including factors such as political instability, economic volatility, security concerns, and social challenges.

"The risk profile for Africa is deliberately exaggerated to benefit those who, anyway, dictate how things go. And this fits well with topics we discussed here, whether Africa is on the table or the menu. I think many times it’s both because even when some people are at the table, they think they have raised their level and they don’t realize that at some point, whenever somebody decides that they be eaten up on the menu, that will happen,” President Kagame stated during a panel discussion comprising President William Ruto of Kenya and Filipe Nyusi of Mozambique.

President Kagame said the risk profile has stifled investments in the continent and called for a united voice to tackle challenges affecting the continent.

“We don’t need to keep rating each other, but we just have to focus and deal with the problems at hand. Every one of us, whether the heads of state, audience, or business leaders, know there are problems we have to tackle in our continent,” President Kagame stated.

He blamed the challenges facing the continent on poor leadership.

“There is poverty that shouldn’t be here after so many decades. If we look at ourselves in comparison with other parts of the world, there are certain African countries and regions that were better off than other countries in other continents say 50 years ago.

"Now what has happened in our continent, there has been stagnation or reversal of gains we ought to have made, and these countries are hundreds of times better than us. What is lacking is leadership. Unity around purpose. There is taking the opportunity before us and translating it into the aspirations, the needs people are capable of. This requires leadership, governance, accountability, and assessing and challenging ourselves and holding ourselves accountable," he added.

On partnerships with other foreign nations, Kagame insisted that the collaborations must offer a sense of mutual benefit.

Giving an example of win-win deals entered with several partners Kagame said, "Those who want to do something, we sit and discuss. There is what we want, there is what they want. We talk about how each of us benefits from what is under transaction. It’s fair for them, it’s fair to us. We have done different deals in sports and different areas. We have partnerships with PSG, Bayern Munich, and Arsenal. When we did that, we made sure that they benefit and we benefit.

President Ruto, on his part, echoed Kagame’s sentiments, saying leadership and making the right unpopular decisions will play a significant role in transforming the continent.

“Leadership starts from where you are. I quite agree with what Kagame has said. It boils down to leadership. China 30-35 years ago was not where it is today. Today China is the second largest economy in the world. It’s because of leadership and decision-making. Leading is about making the right decisions."

President Ruto also lauded President Kagame for the introduction of visa-free travel policy for all Africans, saying, “We can get the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA) moving and make it a reality, so that our business people can move across this continent.”

The two-day CEO forum, which kicked off on Thursday, brought together more than 2,000 business leaders from 75 countries.

The forum challenged attendees to take decisive action for Africa’s future amidst global economic uncertainties.

President Paul Kagame says Africa’s risk profile is deliberately exaggerated to benefit foreign powers with vested interests.