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The Kigali Global Dialogue 2023: From a Pan African Perspective



By Dolapo Aina

The Kigali Global Dialogue hosted by Observer Research Foundation and Rwanda Governance Board commenced in earnest with a press conference on Monday, 12 June 2023 where representatives of ORF, RGB and Rwanda Convention Bureau engaged the media community. Rwanda had been benefitting from ORF Conferences. It is a relationship that has been mutually beneficial.

Ms. Janet Mukazayire, Rwanda Convention Bureau CEO went thus: “We are seeing people who have established their events here. Moreso, others have gone further to set up their hubs in Rwanda. We are also keen on what impacts conferences like this have on the youthful population of Rwanda via their participation.”

Samir Saran, the President of ORF revealed that: “This is my tenth visit to Rwanda. Many of the big conferences of OFR now see Africa from different lenses. And there have been significant changes since we started having events here. In the past it used to be a prominence of European and American perspectives. The summits for the past three years have been more enriched. We have evolved in the way summits are organised. More countries are represented and eco-systems progressions. When I come to Rwanda, I never have to explain myself for this is Rwanda.”

Dr. Usta Kaitesi: Chief Executive Officer, Rwanda Governance Board stated that: “Rwanda has chosen to embrace talent. When you bring talents to Rwanda, you are talking about humanity. We understand as a country we have reconstructed completely. Africa has the youngest population globally, that means we also have huge challenges.

Engagements and discussions of such nature are very important as Rwanda has decided to pursue a knowledge-based economy. Eco-system of collaboration is one of the benefits of the Kigali Global Dialogue Summits. So much we have learnt and still learning and we won’t be successful if we are only focused on our perspective. Kigali Global Dialogue has been creating more relationships.”

During the welcome address, Samir Saran, the President of Observer Research Foundation re-echoed the thoughts of most delegates when he posited: “We must make sure we fix global governance and not be as helpless as we were during the covid19 pandemic. Underneath the social media noise, when you walk through the streets in Kigali, Johannesburg, there is hope and promise. We all face the challenges of equity at home and outside our different countries.”

In the Chair’s Remarks, Dr. Usta Kaitesi went thus: “Rwanda values the privileges of dialogue. Kigali Global Dialogue is a great opportunity that with dialogue we can survive. In dialogue, you notice the beauty of diversity. It doesn’t make any ideological sense if we limit a segment of the population from advancing. We should make sure our generation appreciates the efforts we adopt and adapt in this century.”
In his ministerial address, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Rwanda, Dr. Vincent Biruta touched on some areas stating that: “Kigali Global Dialogue is a great occasion to discuss on contemporary global issues.”

Also, “We need to ensure equitable access to technology globally. Gender equity is also paramount and progress must not be confined to a few countries. Kigali Global Dialogue is more than a conference. Meaningful dialogue can create a better world for future generations most importantly, amplifying voices from the Global South.”

During the Fragmented World, Polarised Politics: Crafting Multilateralism that Works session; Sarah Mosoetsa: CEO, Human Sciences Research Council in South Africa opined that: “There are challenges for BRICS and these challenges are frightening for the bloc. And it has to be known that multilateralism has never been in Africa’s favour. Furthermore, the AU, EU, G20 should not be seen as competitors for they can all co-exist as equals.”

Ambassador Sujan Chinoy: Director General, Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (MP-IDSA) and Chair, T20 India Core Group commenced thus: “Amazing that this session is being discussed in a country that was once fractured. Presently, the world is fractured into seven Ts namely, Trade, Technology, Territory, Terrorism, Tenets, Transparency and Trust. When there is global consensus which was agreed on years ago, why are we re-inventing the wheel? Globalisation has not benefitted all countries equally. Global world order isn’t the way it used to be and there is a denial by several countries on the present situation of the global world order standing. The world needs more than binary choices. Countries cannot be restricted to just two options. We might not like the current world order but it is not easy to scrap the present global system and world order.”

Geo-politics expert Velina Tchakarova: Founder, For A Conscious Experience (FACE), Austria opined that: “In Europe, when it comes to consensus, I am not so optimistic. Presently, Europe is showing symptoms of fracture. There is an emerging polarisation in the EU as most countries are not on the same page. Some member states are already small but don’t realise it yet. When the crisis begins to bite harder, smaller states in the EU would begin to think nationalism and national interests first. The old world is dying and the new world is struggling. We need to wake up and see the world for what it is, not what we wish it to be. We are going to see a lot of bloc-building in the Asia-Pacific region. One of the good stories of this present global scenario is that there would be new players and new collaborations. There would be risks but we should be mindful of the possibilities therein.”

Jovan Ratkovic, a Senior Fellow, Agora Strategy Institute, Belgium posited: “There is not a real joint policy of foreign affairs of the EU. It is important to have African countries as member of G20 but I don’t think we are going to see any reform of international blocs. G20 might be the only and best chance and it must be allowed to thrive. Issue-based partnerships and consensus are still possible and should be encouraged as they would be far more compatible as the old world (20th century) dies in this century.”

During The Young and The Restless: Entrepreneurship, Employment, and Economic Development session, Silvana Lopez: International Business Officer, ClarkeModet & Co in USA revealed that: “My generation is somewhat individualistic when it comes to jobs and creation of jobs. There has been a shift in how generations view jobs. The Generation Z don’t see it necessary to stick in one job or company for a long time.” While, Rania Ayman: Founder and CEO, Entreprenelle based in Egypt further stated that: “Companies cannot engage with the Millennial generation the way they would engage with the Generation Z. People must know the learn how to talk the language of the new generation.”
Day Two commenced with an Insecure World: Digital Disruptions session. Jiten Jain: CEO, Voyager Infosec in India was of the view that: “We (Asian and African Continents) need to invest heavily in our cybersecurity apparatuses. There is a rapid digitalisation of public services and modernisation of the entire systems but inclusion is still a challenge especially in India. We have long given our data for free and that has to stop. We need to regulate data collection of technology companies in Asia and Africa. I believe self-regulation might just be good for motivation but it would apply in this current global reality.”
On her part, Shiotsuka Minako who is the Chief Representative, JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency), Rwanda stated that: “We need to leverage inter organisational collaborations to be able to firm the grip on the digital disruption regulation.” José Eduardo Malta de Sá Brandão who is the Deputy Director of International Studies, Institute for Applied Economic Research inBrazil stated: “It is not easy to regulate the technology conglomerates but we need to regulate them like when the world understood why plastics needed to be regulated in some countries and banned in some countries.” Clarissa Jazmin Rios Rojas; a Research Affiliate at the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom wen thus: “Technology is risky because human beings make it risky. We need to have more ethical guidance and there should be more enlightenment for it. We need a system-themed approach and ethical values approach are needed.”

During the Governance in the Post-Pandemic World session, Bharat Lal, the Director-General, National Center for Good Governance (NCGG) based in India enthused thus: “During the covid19 pandemic, leadership was what made several countries pull through. Political leadership had to mobilise. Another thing which was apparent was the digital infrastructure and accurate information. Post-pandemic planning is also key and the empowerment of the civil service is vital. These points were focused on by the Modi Administration.” On her part, Dr. Usta Kaitesi: Chief Executive Officer, Rwanda Governance Board, Rwanda stated: “Leadership is always at the centre. Nations cannot just leapfrog digital infrastructure because covid19 hit your country. Before covid19, there were a lot of public services which were already online in Rwanda. The power of a coordinated effort is seen through how the structures exists and work. For me, three factors stand out, Leadership and characterisation of the leaders, citizens and their acceptability to the leadership and thirdly, collaborations. As we deal with challenges of the past, we have to deal with the future simultaneously. The best way of collaborating is to be conscious of each other.”

Anil Sooklal: BRICS Sherpa and Ambassador at Large for Asia and BRICS in a speech stated: “BRICS doesn’t see itself as an alternative to the G7. But it is important to be a collective. Countries have seen this and more in BRICS and align with their views. We need to move away from competition and consternation and move towards collaboration. Some see BRICS as the coalition of the wounded but this is not true. We have to therefore be very careful about BRICS expansion.”

During the Compete and Cooperate: Investing in Our Green Future session, Edward Claessen who is the Head of the Regional Hub for East Africa (European Investment Bank) stated: “To expect more from Governments, is being hopeful but I don’t it. We have to convince them that going into green private investments is a given and the way to go.” Whilst the Nigerian Christopher Ogunmodede: Associate Editor, World Politics Review stated: “Countries from the South have pertinent issues and emergencies that have to be solved and are most are at the front burner. And due to these challenges funds are usually limited if not unavailable for green economy. There has to be a balance.”
Another impactful session was The Next Gold Rush: Critical Minerals panel where Ambassador Susana Malcorra; Former Foreign Minister, Argentina and President, GWL Voices, Spain stated: “We need to be careful when talking about gold rushes, as they don’t usually end well. There is a need for a different approach and thinking on how to extract and export opportunities in the sector. Often times, when we talk global South, we don’t mean it. Africa is Global South. Latin America is Global South. And we need to work together.” On his part, President Jorge Quiroga; Former President of Bolivia and Member, Club de Madrid wen thus: “Latin American countries are taking their economic destiny in their hands and not waiting for the promises of America and EU which keep on changing. Why don’t Latin America and Africa coordinate because we don’t mediate ourselves? We don’t coordinate our agendas regularly.”
During the Women-Led Development: Activating the Levers to Unleash Women’s Economic Power session, Magda Robalo: President and Co-Founder, The Institute for Global Health and Development who hails from Guinea-Bissau stated: “When a girl is sent to school, we see the benefits but we don’t know the statistics when it comes to investing in women’s health. This is usually neglected. Women are usually excluded for clinical trials. When women are healthy, the whole society benefits.”

The Lighthouses in the Dark: Solutions for An Uncertain Time panel had some wise insights from Ambassador Tariq Karim: Director, Centre for Bay of Bengal Studies at the Independent University in Bangladesh, who posited that: “The journey in Bangladesh has not been smooth but we have been moving. If Bangladesh can transition into green energy, we would be able to transform our economy.” On the other hand, Arvind Gupta: Head and Co-Founder, Digital India Foundation in India went thus: “All successful start-ups still cater for the people at the bottom of the pyramid. In the start-up world, copy and paste doesn’t work. There is a lesson there, you have to understand the homegrown dynamics. Start-ups have to localise for that particular market.” Whilst Nancy Mwange who is the Deputy Director, Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis, brought up the perfect case study in Kenya, when she posited that the growth of M-Pesa in Kenya was organic.

During the Advancing Feminist Foreign Policy panel, H.E. Susana Malcora: President, GWL Voices and Former Foreign Affairs Minister of Argentina elaborated saying: “Feminist Foreign Policy took root in Latin America decades ago. Rights, Resources and Representation are critical in Feminist Foreign Policy. There is an unholy coalition of conservative minds who want to push back on women rights in some countries. Women are missing at the key tables of peace negotiations. Men and women must be equal partners at these tables.”

On the final day of Kigali Global Dialogue which was a blockbuster of sessions; during the Doing Away with Debt: Rethinking Development Finance session, Ms. Kampeta Pitchette Sayinzoga: CEO, Rwanda Development Bank stated that: Development banks need to think of how they can unlock unavailable local finance. When it comes to National Development Banks and good governance, they usually go through turmoil but always survive. Governance might be a challenge but they do well. Their financials usually show they are strong.” Whilst, Ms. Gwendoline Abunaw Managing Director, Ecobank in Cameroon buttressed further stating: “The money is there, what needs to be worked on are the mechanisms for National Development Banks.”

During the Reimagining Globalisation session, H.E. Moussa Mara: Former Prime Minister of Mali and Member, Club de Madrid poured out some home truths: “We need in some specific African countries some Pan-African leaders who have the African Continent at heart. To change the narrative, we need some concrete implementation. We cannot change the narrative except through concrete political will.”

The Price We Pay? Algorithms, Eternal Growth and Justice session moderated by the famous Armenian-American journalist Lara Setrakian who is the President of APRI Armenia had as sole panellist H.E. Jorge Quiroga: Former President of Bolivia and Member, Club de Madrid who put it point blank: “Whoever produces the content is now the newsmaker. This is the way the internet is going. And potentially it is good news. And we have to realise that phones know more about you than your family members.”

The final session for Kigali Global Dialogue; Whims and Wishes? Ideas that Can Change Our World had some of the most profound and provocative thoughts.

Dr. Usta Kaitesi Chief Executive Officer, Rwanda Governance Board stated that: “We would never succeed if we think our interests are competing. We need political structures and redefine them because they are the basis of our development. These global institutions need the right minds, right attitudes etc and these institutions would give us the right results. We need to go back and interrogate what has made us this selfish.”

H.E. Moussa Mara: Former Prime Minister, Mali and Member, Club de Madrid posited: “Civic societies are the ones who can force Governments to take actions. The UN is still my preferred platform to be heard.”
H.E. Jorge Quiroga: Former President of Bolivia, and Member, Club de Madrid argued that: “The Global South need to self-meet and discuss pertinent issues without waiting to be called by the West for meetings.”

Geo-politics expert, Velina Tchakarova: Founder, For A Conscious Experience (FACE), Austria posited: “Nations’ equality can be achieved if super powers are not allowed to antagonise against each other. Militarisation of space is coming because of the face-off between America and China. Also, G7 is irrelevant. It is a club of a few who are in the past. It doesn’t represent the interest of the majority but the few. With what happened (The 1994 Genocide Against The Tutsi) in Rwanda in 1994 and the transformation, Ukrainians and Russians would have to heal after the war. For there would be a day after the war.”

Samir Saran put it plainly when he stated; “Governance has we know it isn’t working and Collaboration is the most useful tool in current state of global affairs.”

The 2023 edition of the Kigali Global Dialogue lived up to her tradition where the level of conversation, discussions and analysis were unmatched and have remained unmatched. A totally different gathering from what experts in the international relations sphere are accustomed to. The sessions are pretty much what the future entails in Governance and international relations which African governments must review and dissect.

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Info Analytics Poll: Mahama Gaps Bawumia by 20% Votes




With nine months before the next General election in Ghana, the presidential candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Dr. John Dramani Mahama, is commanding a 20 per cent lead over his closest rival, Dr. Mahamudu Bawunia of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP).

This was revealed in a new poll conducted by research agency, Global Info Analytics.

The poll show that over 50 per cent of Ghanaians has expressed interest to vote Mahama as against nearly 35 per cent for the incumbent vice president.

Other candidates in the election shared the remaining percentage of a little over 15 per cent.

The Ghana election is expected to hold on December 7.

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Bassirou Faye Sworn-in As Senegal’s Youngest President




Bassirou Diomaye Faye, a left-wing pan-Africanist, has been sworn-in as Senegal’s youngest president after sweeping to a first-round victory on a pledge of radical reform 10 days after he was released from prison.

The 44-year-old has never before held an elected office but several African leaders attended the ceremony in the new town of Diamniadio, near the capital Dakar.

“Before God and the Senegalese nation, I swear to faithfully fulfill the office of President of the Republic of Senegal,” Faye said before the gathered officials.

He also vowed to “scrupulously observe the provisions of the Constitution and the laws” and to defend “the integrity of the territory and national independence, and to spare no effort to achieve African unity”.

The formal handover of power with outgoing President Macky Sall will take place at the presidential palace in Dakar.

Faye was among a group of political opponents freed from prison 10 days before the March 24 presidential ballot under an amnesty announced by Sall, who had tried to delay the vote.

Faye’s campaign was launched while he was still in detention.

The former tax inspector becomes the West African state’s fifth president since independence from France in 1960 and the first to openly admit to a polygamous marriage.

Working with his populist mentor Ousmane Sonko, who was barred from the election, Faye declared their priorities in his victory speech: national reconciliation, easing a cost-of-living crisis and fighting corruption.

The anti-establishment leader has vowed to restore national sovereignty over key assets such as the oil, gas and fishing sectors.

Faye wants to leave the regional CFA franc, which he sees as a French colonial legacy, and to invest more in agriculture with the aim of reaching food self-sufficiency.

But he has also sought to reassure investors that Senegal “will remain a friendly country and a sure and reliable ally for any partner that engages with us in virtuous, respectful and mutually productive cooperation.”

After three tense years and deadly unrest in the traditionally stable nation, his democratic victory was hailed from Washington to Paris, via the African Union and the European Union.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday spoke with the president-elect by telephone and “underscored the United States’ strong interest in deepening the partnership” between their two countries, the State Department said.

On the international stage, Faye seeks to bring military-run Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger back into the fold of the regional Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) bloc.

New generation of politicians

Commonly known as Diomaye, or “the honourable one” in the local Serer language, he won the election with 54.3 percent of the vote.

It was a remarkable turnaround after the government had dissolved the Pastef party he founded with Sonko in 2014, with Sall postponing the election.

Faye, a practising Muslim from a humble background with two wives and four children, represents a new generation of youthful politicians.

He has voiced admiration for US ex-president Barack Obama and South African anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela.

However, Faye and the government he must unveil will quickly face major challenges.

He does not have a majority in the National Assembly and will have to look to build alliances to pass new laws, or call a legislative election, which will become an option from mid-November.

The biggest challenge will be creating enough jobs in a nation where 75 percent of the 18-million population is aged under 35 and the unemployment rate is officially 20 percent.

Many youths have considered the future so bleak they have risked their lives to join the waves of migrants trying to reach Europe.

Sall, meanwhile, has been appointed special envoy of the Paris Pact for People and Planet, created to combat poverty, protect the planet and support vulnerable countries.

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AfreximBank Inaugurates Kigali’s Office of Fund for Export Development in Africa




By Dolapo Aina

On Wednesday, the 20th of March 2024, The African Export Import Bank (Afreximbank)’s Fund for Export Development in Africa inaugurated its’ Kigali office with a keen eye on addressing Africa’s $110 billion equity financing shortfall. The bank unveiled its Fund for Export Development in Africa (FEDA) office in Kigali, capital of Rwanda.

While the Fund for Export Development in Africa (FEDA) became the Fund Manager of the US$1 billion AfCFTA Adjustment Fund in 2023, it is noteworthy to state that the Fund for Export Development in Africa is the impact investment subsidiary of Afreximbank set up to provide equity, quasi-equity, and debt capital to finance the multi-billion-dollar funding gap especially in equity which are needed to transform the trade sector on the African Continent.

According to an official statement by Afreximbank, FEDA pursues a multi-sector investment strategy along the intra-African trade, value-added export development, and manufacturing value chain which includes financial services, technology, consumer and retail goods, manufacturing, transport and logistics, agribusiness, as well as ancillary trade enabling infrastructure such as industrial parks.

The statement by Afreximbank further stated that FEDA was established to tackle Africa’s US$110 billion financing gap for intra-African trade, value-added export development, and industrialisation value chains, with Rwanda being the first among fifteen African nations to ratify its establishment agreement.

The event had in attendance Dr. Edouard Ngirente, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Rwanda’ President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Afreximbank, Professor Benedict Oramah; Executive Vice Presidents of Afreximbank, members of the Board of Directors of FEDA including Ms. Marlene Ngoyi, who is the Chief Executive Officer of FEDA; officials from the Rwandan Government; representatives from the business and diplomatic communities in Rwanda; just to name a few.
Rwanda’s Prime Minister Dr. Ngirente stated: “The establishment of FEDA in Rwanda reflects Rwanda’s commitment to not only fostering economic development within our borders but also to playing a pivotal role in the economic transformation of our continent. This initiative is a step closer to the realisation of the goals outlined in the Agenda 2063 of the African Union which lays great emphasis on the transformation of African economies and acceleration of economic growth on the continent.” The Prime Minister of Rwanda highlighted the fact that despite Africa’s significant resource endowments and contiguous markets, the continent had the lowest level of intra-regional trade in the world, adding that the continent’s share of value created remained the lowest across many products and commodities due to sub-optimal value addition.

President of Afreximbank, Professor Benedict Oramah in his speech stated that: “FEDA adds to the pool of institutions helping Africa to create its own capital base for development. With a focus on providing long-term, patient capital targeting all segments, from SMEs to corporates, and cutting across dynamic sectors of value-addition, services, and technology, FEDA is positioned to drive Africa’s development under a new vision of de-commoditised, growth-oriented pathways underpinned by a dynamic private sector. We all share the view that the goals of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) will be a mirage, and its benefits will accrue to others unless tangible steps are taken to create tradable goods and services for the continental market. We also do recognise that the benefits of the Free Trade Agreement will not be evenly shared among all Participating States if pragmatic steps are not taken to equip all economies, especially small and fragile economies, with the capacity to produce goods or provide essential services necessary for the conduct of trade within the continent.”

Professor Benedict Oramah went further: “Less than four years since the commencement of operations, the evidence of the strategic importance of this institution is beginning to show as it has started to leave impactful footprints across the continent. Funds Under Management under different strategies amount to about 800 million US dollars. FEDA is using some of these funds to create and mobilise additional funds and is currently a co-promoter of a 500 million US dollar Africa Credit Opportunity Fund (ACOF). With seed funding provided by Afreximbank, it is also creating a 100 million US dollar Venture Capital Fund to focus on start-ups and SMEs. In 2023, FEDA became the Fund Manager of the 1 billion US dollar AfCFTA Adjustment Fund. Thanks to the equity and supporting debt instruments offered by Afreximbank, industrial complexes are emerging across Africa. The Fund has supported the emergence of Special Economic Zones in Gabon, Benin, and Togo. These Industrial Zones have changed the profiles of the countries from commodity-exporting countries to exporters of value-added or manufactured goods, attracting multiple times the values gained from commodity exports, helping to achieve economic diversification, creating dynamic local economies with strong domestic supply chains and, above all, jobs and stable incomes for the people. Similar investments are spreading and are expected to reach at least twenty countries, including Rwanda, Malawi, Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Kenya, Congo Democratic Republic, the Republic of Chad, and Zambia, by year-end.”

On Rwanda, Professor Benedict Oramah posited in his speech that “Rwanda is also poised to benefit significantly. On the heels of the various supports provided by Afreximbank to Rwandan public and private sector entities, FEDA has progressed a significant deal pipeline in Rwanda. A number of investments are being processed across many sectors and industries, ranging from transport and trade logistics, manufacturing, agro-processing, and power generation. These equity investments, amounting to about 50 million US dollars, when concluded, will complement the over 300 million US dollars disbursed to Rwandan entities by Afreximbank in the past 5 years, boost local industrial actives, create domestic value chains, and elevate Rwanda’s preparedness to harness the benefits of the AfCFTA.”

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