Kagame made the observation today as he attended the 8th edition of Confédération Générale des Entreprises de Côte d’Ivoire (CGECI) Academy 2019 in Abidjan, Ivory Coast as the guest of honor.
CGECI Academy is one of the largest forums of the Ivorian Private Sector.
As he delivered his remarks, Kagame expressed delight to return to Ivory Coast to learn about the country’s work and strengthening relations as well.
The President highlighted that the Ivorian private sector is an inspiration, because of its productivity, dynamism, and resilience which contributed to the recovery and rapid development of the nation and stressed the need to exchange best practices between both countries.
“The potential of Ivorian business to grow and be a pillar of our continent’s economy is evident. For example, we would like to see more Ivorian investment and expertise in Rwanda, as well as the exchange of best practices for the creation of a strong industrial sector,” he noted.
Kagame said that companies in Côte d’Ivoire and around Africa can do much more to catalyze and finance local innovation and commended CGECI, for the commitment to the next generation of African entrepreneurs.
This year’s conference is themed ‘Creating a conducive business climate’.
President Kagame explained that such forums are highly relevant to complement efforts expended by African countries to support the cause.
“Efforts by many African countries to improve their business environments are bearing fruit, but we can all do so much more. One way to advance this cause is through forums like this one. Coming together here, we make useful connections, share experiences, and learn from each other,” he said.
“The starting point is ensuring that relevant actors in both the public and private sectors get involved for the right reasons. Ultimately, what we seek is to attract and retain the maximum levels of investment we can, both domestic and foreign, to grow our economies and generate wealth of our citizens,” Kagame added.
The President said some factors are beyond our control but emphasized that ensuring to get the best value for every amount invested is within reach.
Kagame underscored that ‘no opportunities should be lost to regulatory barriers or other delays and uncertainties of our own making’ and shared Rwanda’s efforts that are showing off.
“For Rwanda, we made a deliberate effort to mobilize every branch of government, alongside the private sector, to contribute to business climate reforms. The stakes were high and a consistent focus on key indicators has led to good results. Therefore, there is no reason not to do what is within our capacity. We will all directly feel the benefits of doing just that,” he said.
Kagame stressed that the timing is right, with Africa coming together to proactively shape the future through the African Continental Free Trade Area which he considered an exciting and very promising development for the continent.
“Each country and region has to do its part to ensure the success of the economic integration that we all want to see. We are counting on you and your colleagues around Africa to sustain that momentum,” he noted.
“You are well-placed to mobilize our business communities to seize this exceptional chance. Now is the time to prepare for the implementation phase and capitalize on the benefits that the African Continental Free Trade Area holds, for everyone involved,” added Kagame.
The President also called on Governments to do their part, listen to, and work with the private sector, to overcome existing barriers to doing business and ensure that young people are equipped with the education and training required, to take advantage of new opportunities.
“We have to reach a point where our countries have the capacity to finance our own transformation. Development aid has been useful and it continues to be useful, especially when we work to get the most impact out of every cent that we receive. But the point has never been to remain dependent forever when we have always had the potential to be wealthy ourselves,” he said.
“There are much more productive ways for our continent to partner with various countries and regions, for mutual benefit. This remains an urgent task and the African private sector has an indispensable role to play,” observed Kagame.
According to Stéphane Aka-Anghui, the executive director of the General Confederation of Enterprises of Côte d’Ivoire (CGECI, Patronat) the Rwandan president was chosen as the guest of honor because his country has made considerable efforts to make the business environment attractive and could share its experience with Ivorian companies.
The World Bank Doing Business report 2018 rated Rwanda 29th globally in easing business and second in Africa following Mauritius.
The 8th edition of "CGECI Academy" was initially scheduled for October 17 to 18 and was rescheduled from October 14 to 15 in Abidjan for Rwandan President Paul Kagamé to participate.
Kagame was last in Ivory Coast on 20th December 2018 when he was conferred honorary citizenship of Abidjan.
This forum, held annually since 2012 at the initiative of CGECI, aims to promote the creation of a business environment conducive to the national private sector.