On Wednesday, global leaders converged in Kigali, Rwanda, for the 26th World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa.
Rwanda is the second East African country to host the event after Tanzania. In preparation for the event, the government invested in Kigali’s infrastructure, with its airport, roads and hotels being updated and security actively enhanced in preparation for the WEF.
Speaking at the last World Economic Forum in Cape Town, South Africa, Rwandan Finance and Economic Planning Minister Claver Gatete said the decision to hold the WEF in Rwanda was an opportunity for Africa to show the world that the continent can rise from the ashes, referencing Rwanda’s 1994 genocide that claimed more than 1 million lives.
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“Rwanda is testimony that Africa can aspire to attain a much brighter future with high standards of good governance, a safe place to live and to do business as well as politically stable under rule of law and zero tolerance to corruption,” Gatete said.
The overall theme of the WEF is “The Fourth Industrial Revolution” and sparks debate on how African economies should adopt digital technologies to expedite development.
The Rwandan government sees the summit as an opportunity to market the country’s tourism and hospitality industries and become known as a business conference destination.
In fact, businesses in Kigali, particularly in the hospitality industry, reported record sales this week. Given the significance of the event, Rwanda is bound to gain the attention of global investors and policymakers, which is expected to bring in more investment opportunities.
The country also hopes to further promote its genocide success story and demonstrate to the world the significant steps it has taken toward the rebirth of a country that had been devastated by one of world’s worst crimes against humanity.
Entrepreneurship on the Continent
As the World Economic Forum on Africa kicked off, great emphasis was put on the opportunities available to African online entrepreneurs and how to ascertain the best approaches for incorporating the latest technologies into online entrepreneurship in Africa.
The summit also discussed the existing possibilities for the continent to create a viable platform for cross-border data exchange.
Several African leaders, including Rwandan President Paul Kagame, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, and Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn, were in attendance.
The leaders discussed existing barriers to trade between African countries and how these impediments can be addressed to create a more inclusive trade environment.
The WEF will conclude on Friday.