The Golden Business Forum started today August 9th 2019, it was attended by hundreds of business leaders from Rwanda, Africa and beyond as well as diplomats and representative of various organisations.
The forum comes at a time when different initiatives on a national and continental level, are converging to create the best business environment in Rwanda and in Africa as a whole.
In his remark the guest of honour President Kagame, noted that in previous times businesses and business leaders were not included when development was being discussed, it was a matter solely reserved for Governments and NGO’s.
But a decisive shift is underway he added “Over the past 15 years, African countries have been among the strongest performers on the World Bank’s Doing Business. Business leaders now participate regularly in African Union Summits, in a meaningful way.”
“The African Continental Free Trade Agreement is now in force and trading will start in July 2020, the Protocol on the Free Movement of People has been signed, and the ratification process is underway. Once in effect, Africans will no longer require visas to travel within Africa, among other valuable rights.”
Africa only represents 3% of the world trade, and Intra-African trade is the lowest of all continents. The factors mentioned by President Kagame, as well as the adoption of the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) that will eliminate internal barriers for African airlines, are combining to open Africa for trade especially Intra-African trade.
According to President Kagame “These agreements are set to remake African economies for the better, generating new opportunities for the firms who are ready to take full advantage. Of course, we expect that African companies will be in the lead, showing the way.”
Many around the world and in Africa have expressed doubts on the “Africa Rising” narrative, and it is indeed true that Africa still has a lot of obstacles and problems to resolve on its way to development. But when you take a step back and take a look at the developments that are happening all over Africa, you start to see a trend.
Infrastructure connecting Africa in terms of power transmission and rail/road are being built all over, barriers to trade and movement of people are slowly being dismantled. The capacity to produce and transform our raw material is starting to mature, and corporate Africa is growing in capacity and confidence.
That is why The Golden Business Forum could not have come at a better time, and the networking and deal making that it will enable, will add another brick to the construction of the Africa we want.