By David Himbara
Our Reporter Karemberi, in Kigali, Rwanda is covering the signing of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement. Championed by the current African Union Chairman, Rwanda’s president Paul Kagame, the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement will turn Africa into a single market.
Reporter Karemberi caught up with His Excellency Paul Kagame, who gave the interview below.
Reporter Karemberi: Your Excellency the AU Chairman, congratulations on facilitating the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement. This is a major achievement. You must be very proud of achieving what many failed before. You are greater than even Brother Leader Gaddafi who failed to create a continental government.
Chairman Kagame: That is correct. This is an extraordinary achievement by myself. As you know, I just became the Chairman of the African Union only last month. At the end of my chairmanship, I will have broken all the records of achievements since independence.
Reporter Karemberi: Chairman, I notice that you successfully mobilized African heads to support the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement. How did you manage this?
Chairman Kagame: As you know I am a visionary leader. When I show African presidents how I transformed Rwanda from a dirt-poor country based on peasant agriculture into a middle-income knowledge-based economy, the African heads of state are amazed. Therefore, they follow my success. The results in my country speak for themselves.
Reporter Karemberi: Your Excellency the Chairman, so are all the African presidents here in Kigali, ready to sign the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement?
Chairman Kagame: That is correct.
Reporter Karemberi: Your Excellency the Chairman, I notice that the President of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni, and Nigeria’s leader, Muhammadu Buhari, did not attend.
Chairman Kagame: Oh, that is correct. Those two gentlemen have issues at home. Buhari is very weak and afraid of offending the trade unions that are terrified of global competition once free trade begins.
Reporter Karemberi: What about President Museveni, sir?
Chairman Kagame: As for Museveni, he is consumed with envy of Rwanda’s achievements. Rather than adopt my model of development, he is harassing Rwandan traders who are outperforming Uganda’s private sector. These are losers. Uganda will be hopelessly left behind by the tsunami of global trade and Rwanda’s booming manufacturing sector and our exports. They can run but there is nowhere to hide.
Reporter Karemberi: With all due respect sir, the Ugandan press is saying that President Museveni is upset by the fact that you have hijacked his security services that engage in violence against Rwandan refugees in Uganda.
Chairman Kagame: That is utter rubbish. Listen here. This interview is about the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement, and how I have brilliantly nurtured it. If you waste my time with nonsensical rubbish about Ugandan pettiness, I will end this interview right now.
Reporter Karemberi: I am so sorry Excellency.
Chairman Kagame: You had better be.
Reporter Karemberi: Your Excellency, what does Rwanda hope to trade in the African Continental Free Trade Area?
Chairman Kagame: Well, we manufacture computers here. We also manufacture motorcycles. We will soon manufacture Volkswagen cars. Don’t forget we have plenty of bananas 🍌.
Reporter Karemberi: Your Excellency, do you think those few products are enough to enable Rwanda to become a player in the open continental market place?
Chairman Kagame: This interview is over. If I had known it would be a negative exercise, I would not have wasted my time. Dismissed.