President Paul Kagame has said that African countries ought to continuously invest in their citizens in order to bring to an end the persistent dependence on aid.
Kagame was speaking at the Milken Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Summit in the Island capital of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
President Kagame took part in a one on one conversation on various topics on Rwanda and Africa with Mike Milken the Chairperson of Milken Institute.
The Milken Middle East and North Africa Summit in Abu Dhabi brought together more than 1,000 delegates.
Kagame said that aid should be utilised to work towards self-reliance as opposed to long term dependence.
One of the ways to do this, he said is sustained investment in citizens, especially the youth.
“We need to invest in our people, even countries with natural resources, it will come to waste if they don’t invest in their people,” Kagame said, adding that “Knowledge or technology are things that are beginning to be evenly distributed across the world.”
If our young people are educated, he says, and they have their health, then they are able to do what anyone else can do.
“You find them in different parts of the world doing exactly what is needed in Africa.”
Kagame said that Africans ought to bring to an end a long standing status quo whereby, despite being endowed with resources, the continent has remained quite poor.
“Africa is endowed with so much in terms of natural resources, the numbers are very clear. When you look at Africa’s portion of global GDP, it is very misleading when you also know what it is capable of – how do we get out of that history? The challenge in the continent has always been how Africa can be so rich yet so poor at the same time?” the president posed.
Part of the solution, he said, lies in cooperation among African nations to bring to an end long term dependence.
Overdependence on external partners has seen the interest of African nations often ignored at the expense of the continent.
“We cannot work together without overcoming the challenge that we are so dependent on factors outside the continent. We have to build self-sufficiency and independence. This is what will take Africa where we should be,” the Head of State said.
He said that it is upon this background that the African Union decided to conduct reforms which among other things involved financing the activities of the African Union.