Kagame starts A.U. reign with business forum.

The new African Union chairperson, Paul Kagame, kicked off his reign with a Business and Investment Forum where he strongly advocated for active private sector participation in the African governance process.

Kagame in his remarks held that the earlier African governments realised they cannot serve their citizens without private participation, the better. “We need active support from the private sector in fact without your voice something essential is missing.

“I am happy to see that today’s round tables are specific and full of practical detail. This makes it more likely that new public-private partnerships can be forged. We need the private sector’s help in that regard,” he added.

Whiles a number of African leaders caught their flights back home after the summit which closed on Monday, Kagame was joined by Nigerien counterpart Mohammadou Issoufou, Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni and Ethiopian premier Hailemariam Desalegn for the event.

Also present were ECA chief, Veronica Songwe, former Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and members of the U.S. Millenium Challenge Coroporation and the Corporate Council for Africa.

The forum was held under the auspices of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and was under the theme: “Transform: Africa Buisness and Investment Summit.” Presidents of Kenya and Senegal had earlier discussed Africa’s power needs under the same banner.

Kagame in his remarks cited instances of how Rwanda had partnered and continued to partner private companies outside to help with service delivery especially in its healthcare sector. “This doesn’t mean we should privatise our healthcare systems, but rather find ways to improve quality and access to healthcare.

“In Rwanda, for example, we have entered into an arrangement with an African company to manage our largest hospital. What is being done there is already showing success,” he added.

According to the ECA, participants of the forum aim at making agriculture attractive and smart for Africa’s youth, averring that if the continent is to lift millions out of poverty, Food security is vital but only achievable with enough engagement and political will.