Rwandan President Paul Kagame accused the West last week of being reluctant to improve the terms of trade between rich nations and Africa.
Removing trade barriers in the West would be many times more beneficial than aid packages which have cost billions of dollars over the last 50 years but brought few visible improvements, Kagame said.
“The West is reluctant to deal with these trade issues,” Kagame told reporters. “Africa would gain more if allowed to trade freely and openly with the West.”
World Trade Organisation chief Pascal Lamy said the Doha Round of trade negotiations was moving so slowly that it would be hard to finish it next year, as
leading wealthy and developing nations want.
Kagame, a strident proponent of “trade over aid”, said Africa should seek investment from around the world, including China, as a long term development strategy.
China has been criticised by the West for turning a blind eye to human rights abuses and of not doing enough to promote good governance in countries where it invests.
But Kagame, who earlier this week praised Chinese investments in Africa, said the onus was on Africa to deal with such issues, and they were not a concern for donors or investors.
“I want Chinese money, Chinese knowhow, I want the Chinese to construct roads and dams,” he said. “(But) if it’s a question of justice or fairness, I think also Africa (should be) taking its own responsibility and cleaning up our own weaknesses.”
Western donors have “asked questions” for decades and yet Africa remains poor, mired in conflict and still has a reputation for bad governance, he said. “We need to do more than just asking questions. Ask questions but also invest,” Kagame said.
Pic: President of Rwanda – Paul Kagame