January 16 was a busy day for President Paul Kagame who is in Davos for the World Economic Forum.
In the morning, the president joined other world leaders for the welcoming remarks and special address session of the 2024 session of the World Economic Forum.
The session was chaired by Klaus Schwab, World Economic Forum Founder and Executive Chairman and included key speakers namely Viola Amherd, President of the Swiss Confederation 2024 & Federal Councilor of Defence, Civil Protection & Sports.
The special addresses were delivered by Li Qiang, Prime Minister of the People’s Republic of China and Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission.
On the sideline of the meeting, the president met with several leaders and business personalities. He met with his Ukrainian counterpart President Volodymyr Zelensky whom they discussed ongoing situation in Ukraine and efforts to resolve the conflict.
For nearly two years now, a conflict between Ukraine and Russia has exacerbated the economic crisis that was created by COVID-19 pandemic since 2020.
President Kagame further received Jakob Stausholm, the CEO of Rio Tinto, a leading global mining group that focuses on finding, mining, and processing the Earth’s mineral resources. Their discussion focused on partnerships and investment opportunities in the mining sector.
The British-Australian multinational company is the world’s second largest metals and mining corporation behind BHP. It was founded in 1873 and has grown through mergers and acquisitions. Primarirly focusing on extraction of minerals, the company also significantly operate in refinery of bauxite and iron ore.
According to Rwanda Mines, Petroleum and Gas Board, the country’s vision is to be a mineral value-addition hub in the region. Currently, the mineral ores produced in the country are mostly exported as raw mineral concentrates, not as metals.
The president, further met with Jean Todt, the United Nations Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Road Safety. They exchanged on the need to strengthen the global partnership for safe and sustainable mobility for all.
The president received received Makhtar Diop, the Managing Director of the International Finance Corporation (IFC). They discussed Rwanda’s partnership with the IFC as a key partner in the country’s economic transformation.
He met U.S. Senator Mike Rounds for a discussion on bilateral cooperation as well as regional and global issues.
Rwanda to host the Timbuktoo headquarters
At Davos, the president also attended a gathering dubbed “Timbuktoo: Unleashing Africa’s Start-up Revolution.” alongside President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana and UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner.
Timbuktoo is an initiative of UNDP to strengthen the African start-up innovation ecosystem.
Speaking during the session, President Kagame said: ““Africa has the labour force to solve some of the world’s most pressing challenges. We cannot accept that another generation of African young people, do not have the tools to reach their full potential. With Timbuktoo’s one-billion-dollar target, we can create more opportunities for Africa’s youth to put their talent and creativity to good use.”
Rwanda will host the Timbuktoo headquarters and the Timbuktoo Africa Innovation Fund.
“Rwanda will commit 3 million dollars to this fund. The world is changing fast, and we must adapt,” Kagame said.
The World Economic Forum started on January 15 and will run through January 19.