Kagame Says Africa’s Gloomy Image caused by “Stories Told From Elsewhere”


President Paul Kagame, today, told the World Economic Forum that a new narrative is important to change Africa’s perception.

He told a panel discussion, on a topic “De-risking Africa” that for him, “the major problem I see is that Africa’s story is written from somewhere else and not by Africans themselves,” said Kagame amid applause from the audience including several African leaders and business executives. “…That is why the rest of the world looks at Africa and Africans, and wants to define us. They want to shape the perception about Africa.”

On the panel included South African President Jacob Zuma and Nigerian counterpart Goodluck Jonathan. There was also Sunil Mittal, CEO of Bharti Airtel, the parent company of Airtel Rwanda. President Kagame was not on the panel, but was seated among the audience.

He added: “The best thing we can do for ourselves is own our problems, own our solutions, and write our own story. That will also give the right definition about the levels of risk, and the perception part coming from outside will also be put in its right place.”

The President’s comments came after his South African counterpart Zuma also criticized the theme of the discussion which he said was creating the impression that Africa was too risky for business. “What is risky about Africa that needs de-risking,” he said as the CNBC host of the discussion struggled to rephrase the questioning.

International Crisis Group president Louise Arbour said Africa was making progress through the regional blocs. She however added that these blocs were being “distracted” by raging conflict in most of the regions – away from crucial political and economic reforms.

In the latest World Economic Forum competitive index, Rwanda emerged at 63 globally, dropping 7 places compared to the previous rankings. Several reforms mainly in the investment sector have resulted in only a few hours to set up a business in Rwanda.

Sunil Mittal, CEO of Bharti Airtel, the parent company of Airtel Rwanda, said in terms of putting more efforts to set up the necessary infrastructure which will ease the cost of doing business, Rwanda was doing “extremely well”.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday morning, President Kagame was at the breakfast with Global Business Leaders. Tony Blair, former British PM and current advisor to President Kagame, also attended this breakfast discussion. The four-day World Economic Forum is taking place at its usual home, the mountainous Swiss resort at Davos.

A regular participant at the WEF, President Kagame will be attending a variety of panels with topics including Africa’s economic growth as well as the largely untapped potential for agriculture investment.

On Thursday, January 24, President Kagame will be a panelist in a session entitled “Challenges and Transformation shaping Leadership Context in Africa. On that same day, President Kagame will join African Heads of State including Ali Bongo of Gabon, Hailemariam Desalgn of Ethiopia, Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania, Raila Odinga of Kenya and Jacob Zuma of South Africa in an interactive discussion entitled “Africa’s Promise: How can Africa’s leaders deliver on the continent promise” moderated by African Development President Donald Kaberuka.

President Kagame will also be attending sessions focusing on the role of leaders in shaping the future and collaborating in finding solutions to common global challenges.

Source: News of Rwanda


4 thoughts on “Kagame Says Africa’s Gloomy Image caused by “Stories Told From Elsewhere”

  1. If Africans continue to let others tell their story, then we should brace ourselves for distorted facts built on wrong premise and generalized conclusions

    • How I wish African leaders should adopt this WEF modus operandi and apply it to their discussions during their meetings at the African Union’s deliberations.
      I know some of them go to Addis to take notes for their bosses in the West or to derail important debates and resolutions. Stop the re-colonization of our continent because of corruption.

  2. When Africans allow others to tell their story, they inadvertently give away the chance to show off success stories on the continent

  3. It’s hard to tell a story on ‘development’ that is built on handouts from the west. In essence there is nothing to be proud about. I think African need to first understand and own the development process of their continent and, this way, be inspired to tell their success stories.

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