Dubai, UAE: H.E. Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda, told delegates at the Global Business Forum on Africa in Dubai that closer economic integration across Africa was making great strides, and said adopting an “EU-like structure” is a possibility that would help drive progress across the continent.
In a one-one interview with John Defterios, CNN’s Emerging Markets Editor, H.E. Kagame was asked whether Africa would adopt an EU-like structure that would see the removal of tariffs and trade barriers. The Rwandan President responded by stating that Africa is already seeing the benefits of regional economic integration, noting that closer cooperation would be a major step forward.
H.E. Kagame revealed that African countries have stepped up their cooperation on security matters in recent years, and highlighted the African Union, Ecowas (Economic Community of West African States) and East African nations as key examples of this progress.
The President said that Africa’s colonial – and post colonial – legacy has held the continent back. “History has divided the continent. It left us with divisions and inefficiencies that have prevented Africa from being as prosperous as it should have been. Now, however, we’re looking at Africa coming together,” he said.
He cited significant areas of co-operation in the six main regional blocs, including free movement of people in Ecowas, the West African bloc, as well as collaboration on infrastructure, power generation and telecommunications in East Africa.
Held under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai, the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry kicked off day one of the 4th Global Business Forum on Africa on Wednesday. The event is taking place at Dubai’s Madinat Jumeirah and will run until November 2nd.
Bearing the theme “Next Generation Africa”, the two-day event explores opportunities to enhance economic cooperation and strengthen trade and investment ties between the Middle East and the African continent.
Sponsors and partners for the 2017 edition of the event include: Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) as gold sponsor, and Standard Bank – South Africa, Invest South Africa and Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum International Photography Award (HIPA) as supporting partners.
The Global Business Forum series, launched by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry in 2013, focuses on Africa, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and Latin America. To date, the series has hosted 10 heads of state, 74 ministers and dignitaries, and 5,400 executives, as well as a host of influential decision makers from 65 countries around the world. Dubai Chamber collaborated with the Economist Group in developing the content of the forum.