President Paul Kagame on Wednesday told global leaders gathering in Japan’s capital, Tokyo to put the private sector at the heart of strategy for prosperity.
He was speaking at the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD), which he described as a valuable process that represents a spirit of optimism and partnership.
Today, he said, many of TICAD’s innovations have become standard and the forum has continued to evolve in tandem with Africa’s priorities.
“The key change is the importance given to the private sector in this TICAD,” he said.
The Head of State cited Rwanda as a critical example for success when private sector development is put at the heart of strategy for prosperity.
This, he said, was done using three types of investment.
Kagame told leaders that Rwanda has made good use of the World Bank’s Doing Business tools to overhaul the business environment, and hence effectively allowing enterprises to thrive.
“We established specialised commercial courts and worked with neighbours for deeper integration to facilitate trade in the East African Community region,” he said.
Rwanda also invested in infrastructure and technology, allowing public-private partnership to supply wholesale broadband data to power the digitalisation of the economy, he said.
In addition, the President said, the country has invested in high-quality convention and tourism facilities.
Most importantly, he added, Rwanda invests in people, citing that producing “Made in Rwanda” and “Made in Africa” products required skilled young people who are in good health.
He gave credit to ABE Initiative–a programme that provides scholarship opportunities for African students to study at Japanese universities–for significantly contributing toward that.
According to Kagame, on skills development, Rwanda has also expanded technical and vocational training with an emphasis on digital skills, as well as funding support for innovation and entrepreneurship.
Kagame commended Japanese private sector players for their sustained investment in the country, especially in horticulture, agri-business and technology.
Kagame had earlier in the morning hosted alongside UNICEF Executive Director, Henrietta Fore, a breakfast meeting of African leaders and Champions of Generation Unlimited ahead of TICAD7.
TICAD is billed as a high level policy dialogue between African leaders and Japanese leaders, which takes place every three years.
It is a three-day conference.
Plenary sessions are mainly focusing on accelerating economic transformation and improving the business environment through innovation and private sector engagement.
Other sessions are expected to revolve around deepening sustainable and resilient society and strengthening peace and sustainability.
A public-private business dialogue will also be an important subject towards facilitating direct engagement between Japanese and African governments and private sectors.
The Global Green Growth Institute will together with the African Development Bank launch results of the joint study on green growth assessment, which covers Rwanda and a few other countries.
The forum will introduce some advancements of African social policies, including women’s quota system in Rwanda.
In the past, President Kagame attended the 5th and 6th editions of TICAD which were held in Japan and Kenya in 2013 and 2016 respectively.