President Paul Kagame has upped the pressure on Uganda telling African CEOs that Uganda was the sole party to blame for the current standoff between the two sides.
“Politics is what is behind it, rather than anything else,” said Kagame, speaking at the opening of the Africa CEO Forum at the Radisson Blu Hotel & Kigali Convention Centre.
This year’s Africa CEO Forum brings together four African Heads of State, 700 CEOs, 1,800 participants from 70 countries.
Kagame was speaking on panel alongside Ethiopian President Sahle-Work Zewde; Philippe Le Houérou, Chief Executive Officer of IFC; Naguib Sawiris, Chairman of Orascom and Abdulsamad Rabiu, Chairman and CEO of BUA Group.
“Uganda land locks us and stops illegally minerals [from Rwanda] that are held for months before it can be exported to Mombasa,” he said, pointing out that the minerals actually belonged to a German investor.
He added: “The problem is not the road, the problems is politics….The problem is not the border post being constructed, its politics behind it. We have hundreds of Rwandans being arrested in Uganda and piling up in prisons without charge, without consular access. They are telling Rwandans not to go there.”
Asked about the missing link for the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to be a reality, Kagame said: “Political will is in everything, it allows things that must work to work. Political will must come first.”
“Nobody is questioning whether CFTA is the right way to go or whether it is going to give us benefits. It is the only way to go if we want to maximize on the opportunities for the benefit of our continent. But we have to make it work and we know how.”
President Kagame on skepticism that the CFTA (currently left with one country to become law) may not work, said: “CFTA does not solve problems until people make it work. We don’t expect to put a mechanism and expect it to work, it needs an effort that people will have to undertake to make it work.”