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Kagame speaks out on China engagement in Africa, dismisses debt trap narrative – KBC | Kenya’s Watching



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Rwanda President Paul Kagame has openly shared his views about pertinent issues shaping public discourse in the continent, especially touching on China’s engagement with Africa and the relationship between Africa and the US.

Responding to questions regarding the much-talked about China debt trap for African countries, President Kagame noted that, “China has never forced any country to borrow from them to accumulate debt.”

He further said that when borrowing funds externally, it is the responsibility of countries concerned to factor in their limitations, needs and what they need to give back.

“It is rather interesting that there is much talk of China’s debt in African countries but little mention of the Paris Club.” Kagame observed

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He said the Paris Club, for instance, includes countries from North America and Europe which lends to developing countries.

On the issue of Africa’s relationship with the west, President Kagame said that the engagement and partnership should be based on mutual benefit and not based on the West imposing or dictating their own will on African countries.

“They come with this mind-set that Africa is indifferent to human rights, to democracy, to freedom, so they come to do it for us. And we’re saying no. No human being anywhere would want to live by dictates from somebody else,” Kagame said.

According to the Rwandan Leader, Africa is emerging as the fastest growing economy, it would be beneficial for the rest of the world to engage on a mutually beneficial principle.

Kagame cited the move by the United States government to removed his country from the list of eligible countries for the African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) as a punishment for reducing importation of second hand clothes in order to develop Rwanda’s textile industry.

“When Rwanda wanted to grow its industry and therefore, reducing on import of used clothes, some lobbyists who were benefiting from this trade influenced the powers in the US to strike off that deal, and we came under punishment for simply wanting to grow our economy,” he said.

The Rwanda President suggested that among avenues for mutually beneficial engagement would be through investment that would develop countries’ industrial capacities.

The Rwanda President was speaking at a virtual engagement with Hoover Institution for a conversation on nation-building, leadership and US-Africa relations among other topics. The discussion was moderated by Herbert Raymond McMaster, a former US national security adviser.

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