Rwandan President Paul Kagame has asked his fellow African leaders to quit relying on the West and start working toward their own self-sufficiency.
“Maybe Africans might be pushed to learn a few lessons and do what they should have started long time ago, which is to start working toward self-reliance,” Mr. Kagame said.
“I want to see Africa get its act together.”
President Kagame, a longtime critic of the West, made these remarks Tuesday at the inaugural Wall Street Journal Conference on “Investing in Africa” in London, after Wall Street Journal Editor-In-Chief Gerard Baker wanted Mr. Kagame to offer an opinion on Africa’s past, a precise analysis of its present, and a bold vision of its future as a potentially important player in the global economy.
President Kagame had been invited as a chief guest and African representative.
The conference was organized by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) to discuss technology, transition, and growth, according to KT Press.
Africa’s Future with Donald Trump
Baker, the host of the one-day event, also pressed Mr. Kagame to give his honest opinion on Africa’s future with the new U.S. President Donald Trump.
In his response, Mr. Kagame said Africans, just like Americans, are yet to decipher what to expect from President Trump, adding that the current political crisis in America and Europe should compel African leaders to find their own independent path, free of Western aid and influence.
“If President Trump is still being figured out by those who elected him, you can understand from our perspective it will take time to understand what the real administration under President Trump holds for Africa. Maybe we will soon find out,” said Kagame.
The soft-spoken African leader also noted that even the previous U.S. administrations didn’t have a clear policy for Africa.
However, the United States has made several key commitments to work with Africa in areas of trade, security, and governance.
In 2000, the United States enacted the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), a United States trade act, which has since been renewed to 2025.
The act allows qualified sub-Saharan African countries to easily access the U.S. market for their goods.
Under former-President Barack Obama, the United States introduced a tax-free program on travel goods and luggage intended for the U.S. market from AGOA partner states.
While appreciating these commitments by the United States, Kagame insisted that Africa’s main interest “is not to have people to do things for Africa but with Africa.”
On Friday, President Kagame is expected to speak at Harvard University’s Center for International Development (CID) during a session, entitled, “A Conversation with His Excellency Paul Kagame.”