Taarifa Rwanda

Rwanda To Co-Host Africa-Europe High-Level Forum With Austria

Rwanda and Austria will co-host an Africa-Europe high-level forum, scheduled for December 18 in Vienna.

President Kagame said yesterday that the two countries are co-hosting the forum because Rwanda is the current chair of the African Union (AU) while Austria holds the presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU).

President Kagame was speaking at a joint press conference with Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz who was in the country for a “productive discussion” on bilateral issues and the Forum.

President Kagame said the forum will focus on unblocking potential of digital economy as a pathway to inclusion for both continents.

At the Forum, more discussions will be held, focusing on investments and partnerships that can bring and continue to bring Africa and Europe together to lead to positive developments on both sides.

The development in African will help create jobs and address the issue of migration, Kagame said. “If you look at the number of our young people migrating to Europe, can it be managed properly? Can It be stopped and how?”

“The how, I think it is there,” he said, adding that, “We should have done this long ago, in my view, but it is never too late to do the right thing.”

Kagame believes that if there were proper investments and both continents forging strong partnerships, and appeal to the young people that it is better to stay in their countries, “but it can only be helped by the investments we make, not only the amounts, but also the quality of the investments.”

Kagame said that, what is being done today is what should have been done in the past, instead, Europe at one point was inviting Africans. “The impression that was created was that, ‘if you have a problem in your country, it doesn’t matter what it is, false or true, just come to our paradise’,” he said, emphasizing that this magnified the problem. “People come to a point where they cant have them anymore.”

He said African and Europe should discuss how they can work together and create the right investments to address this matter. He explained that Europe should not be seen as a problem, because “Africa has a fair share of the blame.”

“We have to soberly look at the problems and try to find a solution. We cant find an easy solution to a difficult problem,” Kagame said.

Chancellor Kurz told the press that in his discussion with President Kagame, there was consensus that Europe should begin looking at Africa’s problems differently.

That it is not best for Europe to educate Africa how address problems, instead, “Africa needs a strong private sector and positive economic development is the basis for wealth and good living conditions here in Africa,” Kurz said.

He pledged increased Austrian investment in Africa and said the Austrian Development Bank will increase its African portfolio to 55 million Euros and a 10 million Euros fund for SMEs with particular interest in Rwanda and Ethiopia.

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