In a recent interview with Bloomberg Television at Qatar Economic Forum, His Excellency President Paul Kagame of Rwanda revealed his views on key national and international topics ranging from Rwanda’s strategic partnerships to its involvement with the UK migrant situation.
Kagame began by expressing his appreciation for Qatar, referring to it as a “strategic partner” and expressing a desire to enhance bilateral ties. He underscored the importance of international partnerships, particularly for a developing nation such as Rwanda. Kagame highlighted the partnership with Qatar, with the emphasis on aviation, as one of the most prominent alliances that Rwanda and Africa have cultivated.
The President revealed that construction of a jointly invested airport with Qatar is underway, predicting approximately 70% completion by year-end, with major developments to be observed by next year. The airport is part of a broader plan for joint investment in the airline industry, highlighting the recently opened Qatar Airways cargo hub in Rwanda.
Kagame also touched on the criticism that Rwanda’s partnerships are a cover for human rights concerns in the country. He argued that the primary focus of the nation is economic partnerships and growth. He emphasised Rwanda’s investments in various sectors including biotechnology, where Rwanda has started manufacturing vaccines in partnership with BioNTech, and sports, partnering with the NBA for Basketball Africa League. He affirmed that by prioritising economic progress and meeting the needs of its citizens, Rwanda is addressing human rights issues.
When questioned about instability in the region, particularly the ongoing issues with the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kagame insisted that these problems are being addressed through international frameworks and dialogue, mediated by entities like the African Union and the United Nations. He stressed that while Rwanda is part of the solution, it is not the sole solution to the conflict.
The discussion moved to Rwanda’s financial stability, highlighting the country’s ability to repay a €400 million bond at a time when many African countries are struggling with debt. Kagame stated that Rwanda may return to the international market if necessary, and reminded the audience of the country’s proven reliability in repaying debts. However, any future borrowing would be for investment in infrastructure and manufacturing, not for the sake of borrowing.
Addressing concerns over unfair treatment of African countries when it comes to financing, Kagame called for a rethinking of how developed economies extend financing. He pointed out the disparities in the distribution of the IMF’s Special Drawing Rights during the COVID-19 pandemic, where Africa received a small share compared to developed nations.
The interview concluded with Kagame discussing Rwanda’s controversial partnership with the UK over asylum seekers. He explained that the partnership had developed from the need to address the human migration crisis and that Rwanda is ready to receive and process UK asylum seekers, but the implementation of the deal depends on the readiness of the UK.
Through this interview, President Kagame conveyed a strong sense of national vision and international engagement, driven by economic partnerships and sustainable development goals, while addressing contentious issues such as regional instability and human rights concerns. The forthcoming developments in Rwanda’s partnerships and infrastructure, particularly in aviation and biotechnology, are indicative of Rwanda’s growth trajectory under Kagame’s leadership.