Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda, has affirmed that the new African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) will help deepen the longstanding relationship between his continent, Dubai and the UAE.
While addressing the Global Business Forum (GBF) Africa in Dubai, Kagame highlighted how the UAE and Dubai, in particular, have long played a key role in linking Africa to the wider global economy.
"This interconnectedness has been mutually beneficial, and we wish to continue to deepen those collaborations," he said.
In a recorded video message, Kagame explained how the global economy, while slowly getting back on its feet, would never revert to its former model.
"No country or continent has been spared the damaging effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Africa is no exception. As vaccine distribution improves globally, the pandemic is becoming more manageable. Travel and commerce are beginning to recover," said the President.
"Some of the changes will be profound and lasting. The crisis in international shipping and transportation is already generating new thinking. Manufacturing and supply chains will need to become more resilient to more local and more technologically advanced," he added.
Kagame said that this new economic paradigm would give his country many opportunities, with the global pandemic occurring alongside technological advancements having opened doors for sectors of the Rwanda economy, as well as for the wider continent of Africa.
He pointed out how lifesaving vaccines and other pharmaceuticals will increasingly be produced in a decentralised fashion, including in Rwanda, thanks to advances in engineering and more partnerships with companies like BioNTech and others.
"Last week, the fifteenth ratification of the African Medicines Agency treaty was deposited with the African Union under the treaty and will therefore come into force next month. The establishment of this body will be a game-changer for Africa's ability to produce high-quality vaccines and medicines for our continent," Kagame said.