Africa: New AU Chairman Kagame Wants Business Unusual for Africa

The official opening ceremony of the 30th African Union Summit in Addis Ababa on 28 January 2018.
29 January 2018
analysis

Rwanda President Paul Kagame yesterday assumed the position of African Union chairperson, taking over from Guinea's Alpha Conde with a core message of unity, self-reliance and free movement of people.

In his speech at the 30th AU Summit underway in Ethiopia capital Addis Ababa, Kagame said Africa must create a single continental market, integrate its infrastructure, build its economy relying on technology and ensure free movement of people in Africa which can be achieved in 2018.

The summit launched the single African air transport market which Kagame said is a major step towards free transport within Africa and that they were "nearly ready" to adopt the continental free trade area.

"By committing to break down these barriers, we will send a tremendous signal in Africa and beyond that it is no longer business as usual. Our people deserve a brighter future. Their sacrifice and hard work should be rewarded by better lives for their families and communities," Kagame said.

The Rwandan president also preached positivity among Africans, saying that the narrative that Africa is a burden should be dispensed with. "This way of thinking has been around for years, fixing it won't take a year. None of us should be angry about the time and potential we have lost in regards to who we are and should be. At the stage we are, we should choose to respond with focus and facts in order to refocus our common humanity," Kagame said.

He called on young Africans professionals to join the struggle of making the continent a better place since they too have a role to play, noting: "We cannot build Africa without you."

Their contributions should be through listening to the history elders have which will help them "work even harder" and vigorously, engaging in fields of development to the heights of their potential.

Young Africans are also professional men and women and who have a full role to play.

"However, too many Africans come of age in the same conditions as their parents and grandparents and sometimes the hardships endured are even worse, our job is to make sure that every generation in Africa enjoys a better life than the previous one," Kagame said.

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