Chinese investment in Africa has fuelled the development of the private sector, whereas western countries have mostly exploited African resources, Rwandan President Paul Kagame was quoted as saying today.
Kagame, who has won praise for running a disciplined administration and attracting foreign investors, told the German daily Handelsblatt that European and American relations with Africa had not helped the continent develop, Reuters reports.
“Our resources have been exploited and served others. Western companies have soiled Africa to a large extent and still do,” he told the paper.
He said toxic waste had been dumped in the Ivory Coast and Somalia was being used by European companies as a garbage dump.
Kagame said Africa had long been neglected in international relations, but opportunities were developing for partnerships on an equal footing with players such as China, India and Brazil.
“The Chinese bring Africa what it needs: investment and money for governments and companies. China invests in infrastructure, builds streets,” he said.
Rwanda, ripped apart by genocide in 1994, is reviving its economy with spending on tourism, agriculture and mining. But after several years of strong growth, the country has been hit hard by the collapse in global trade and commodity prices.
Kagame said Africa needed to start processing commodities at home, rather than just delivering them to other countries.
“We are looking for real partnerships with foreigners who have the know-how and capital, but share this with local companies,” he said.
The Rwandan president, a former rebel leader whose fighters routed extremists responsible for the genocide, also touched on the issue of foreign development aid, which risked crippling development of the private sector.
“There is a fundamental problem with development aid. It leads to dependence, the desire of the giving countries to control the receiving countries,” he said.
“I wish the western world would invest in Africa rather than give development aid.
There is a need for aid but it should be used to allow trade and to build up companies.”
Pic: President Paul Kgame of Rwanda