Rwanda's President officially takes over AU mantle but has a hard task ahead of him
Kagame was elected to be AU chairman in July 2017, but was told to wait until January 2018.
This comes after the expiry of Guinea President Alpha Conde’s term in office as AU chair.
As he assumes office his work is cut out for him and his first task is to see through the institutional reforms within the AU and the AU Commission to make it financially self-sustaining.
While addressing the 2nd Africa Business Forum in Sham el Sheikh last month, President Kagame expressed confidence reforms were being implemented at AU.
“The institutional reform of the African Union that is currently underway, with strong support from African leaders, is essential to getting these agreements fully operational so that our citizens can enjoy the benefits,” he said in reference to deals signed to grow the private sector and doing business on the continent.
Kagame has argued in the past that African countries need to trade more amongst themselves and relax or drop trade tariffs altogether in order to promote intra trade therefore he will need to put double effort to convince African governments who up to today still prefer trading with the west than African continent.
“Our continent has to catch up fast and compete globally. We can’t afford to waste opportunities because of unnecessary red tape and the associated delays. We should make it easier to do business with each other in Africa and integrate our markets to make them more attractive for investment,” he said.
Getting regional blocs such as East African Community to rad from the same script will also give Kagame many sleepless nights.
Case in point being Kenya and Tanzania long overdue trade squabbles which show no signs of ending and limit the entire region from realizing the full benefits of a bigger market.
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