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President Paul Kagame invited to attend G7 summit in France

26.08.2019
Article from AFRIC Editorial
Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame on Sunday August 25, 2019 arrived in France’s Coastal city of Biarritz to attend this year’s G7 summit. Shortly after arriving in France, President Kagame alongside other African counterparts attended a lunch hosted by the current African Union Chairperson, President Abdel Fatah Al Sisi. During the meeting, Al-Sisi and his four African counterparts discussed several issues including elimination of poverty, climate change, empowering women, and maintaining security and stability in the continent. Also on Sunday, President Paul Kagame alongside his four African colleagues attended the first session of the G7 Summit. Rwanda is participating in the annual summit as part of the eight non-member states and in its capacity as the former Chair of the African Union. Sunday’s session of the G7 summit discussed security in the Sahel region and also looked into the key achievements of the G7 and Africa partnership with a special focus on women entrepreneurship, digital transformation, and the fight against corruption.

G7, also known as the Group of Seven, comprises seven countries which are among the largest economies of the world. The main theme for this 2019 edition of the G7 summit hosted by France is centered around fighting global inequality.

The summit brings together leaders and policymakers from the most advanced economies including Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States build consensus and set trends around challenging global issues. The countries are estimated to represent about 62 per cent of the global net wealth – amounting to about $280 trillion. The group that was founded in the 1970s meets annually to discuss multiple global issues including environment, security and economy, among others. Traditionally, the host country invites a select few non-G7 world leaders to what is referred to as the Outreach Session where more common issues of concern are discussed.

Attending last year’s G7 summit In Quebec, Canada in his capacity as the Chairperson of the African Union, Kagame noted that no country on Earth is unaffected by climate change and called on leaders worldwide to be bold and practical as the challenge faced has proven to be daunting. He spoke with regards to the theme of the Outreach Session that focused on how to build healthy, productive and resilient oceans, coasts, and communities.

The other seven non member states participating in this year’s summit include Australia, Burkina Faso, Chile, Egypt, India, Senegal, and South Africa. Rwanda was invited as the former chair of the African Union, Egypt as the current chair of the Union and South Africa as the incoming chair. Senegal for its part was invited as the current leader of the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) and Burkina Faso as the chair of G5 Sahel.

Rwanda’s State Minister in the ministry of Foreign affairs in Charge of East African Community Affairs, Olivier Nduhungirehe had earlier mentioned that Rwanda will have a lot to share to participants during the G7 summit, indicating that this is the very first G7 conference where France invited African countries not only for the summit itself, but also in the preparatory events where texts are negotiated.

The other African heads of state in attendance also had their say in this year’s G7 summit. During the G7-Africa partnership session on Sunday, Egypt’s President Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi, who is also the current chairperson of the African Union emphasized the need to fight terrorism and extremism in all their forms. He said African peoples are aspiring for achieving peace and sustainable development, and strengthening the continent has to be based on a collective will aiming to settle all crises of Africa. Al-Sisi further highlighted that the content is not in need of reviewing its challenges, but rather work to seek solutions to them based on the priorities of the countries, one of which is empowering women and achieving gender equality. South African president Cyril Ramaphosa who is attending the summit as the incoming chair of the African Union while addressing the summit said Africa is in need of support for infrastructure development. He said the continent needs partners who will cement and consolidate what African countries are doing. The South African leader will equally use the forum to promote partnership and investment opportunities in his country. President Macky Sall of Senegal praised the progress in a working session that delivered “concrete and ambitious proposals to combat inequality and tax evasion in Africa.

It is worth noting that it is not until recently that the governments of Rwanda and France are trying to mend diplomatic ties. Paris and Kigali have largely been perceived as political foes after the government of Rwanda accused France of being the mastermind of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. Over 800,000 Rwandans were mercilessly murdered in the course of the violence between the Tutsis and Hutus. The 1994 genocide, an inhumane and heinous act has remained inscribed in the history books of Rwanda. However, the two countries are at the verge of settling their differences and creating a more productive and favorable win-win partnership.

Article from AFRIC Editorial

Photo Credit : google image/illustration

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