Kagame Fight With Trump Reminds Me Of A Story About An Elephant And A Mosquito

By David Himbara

The Rwanda-U.S. two way trade is relatively small, totaling US$101 million. Rwanda is U.S’s 165th largest goods trading partner. U.S. exports to Rwanda totaled US$75 million in 2016. Rwandan exports to U.S. totalled US$26 million. The U.S. goods trade surplus with Rwanda was $49 million in 2016.

Because of such trade imbalances, the United States enacted the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) as Public Law 106 of the 200th Congress. AGOA has since been renewed to 2025. AGOA makes it easier for Sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries by removing US import duties on products covered by the AGOA legislation. In other words, exporters in SSA benefiting from AGOA receive a competitive advantage over exporters in other countries. Supporters of AGOA have always argued correctly that SSA countries do not need foreign aid by rather market access to stimulate trade and investment.

Enter Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame who unilaterally decided to block American exports of used apparel. In so doing, Kagame is abusing the rules he agreed to when he signed AGOA including the following requirements:

(A) a market-based economy that protects private property rights, incorporates an open rules-based trading system, and minimises government interference in the economy through measures such as price controls, subsidies, and government ownership of economic assets;

(B) the rule of law, political pluralism, and the right to due process, a fair trial, and equal protection under the law;
(C) the elimination of barriers to United States trade and investment… 

Kagame and his insane fight with the Trump Administration over AGOA recall the story of an elephant and a mosquito. Let me reproduce the story here borrowed from Dailytenminutes.com.

A mosquito saw an elephant crossing a bridge and asked for a ride. The mosquito said, “Hello mate! What if I sit on your back and give you some company as you cross the bridge?”
The elephant said nothing. The mosquito sat on the elephant’s back. He felt very proud that he could persuade the elephant to be a co-rider.
As they were crossing the bridge, the mosquito cried out, “Watch out brother, two of us are very heavy, make sure the bridge does not collapse!” The elephant said nothing
As they crossed over through the bridge, the mosquito said, “See, how I guided you safely through!” The elephant said nothing
Finally, the mosquito got off the elephant’s back and buzzed, “Here is my business card. If you need any help in the future just call me on my cell phone.
The elephant thought that he heard some whisper somewhere. But he dismissed this as a daydream and marched on…
Flash-1: You are an elephant with enormous qualities with full control on your life. No matter what you do, people having mosquito-like-attitude will always disrupt you, criticize you, mock you but you need to remember the fact that you are the boss and no one is in-charge of your happiness. So just ignore such people, ignore their criticism and move on with your life
Flash-2: The elephant is the enormous flow of our life. The mosquito is our restless ego that thrives by sucking life’s attention. There is an interior life beyond our ego that is connected to a vast and infinite expanse of awareness. Be aware, be the elephant!


Dear Kagame, in the above story, you are the mosquito. Please reflect on the above story and your situation. You might learn a thing or two. Otherwise, you will keep confusing arrogance with confidence. Arrogance is being full of yourself, which leads you to mistakenly overstate your abilities and influence. President Kagame, know your place, be humble, pick up that phone, call the American embassy, and inform them that Rwanda is open to all the U.S. exports as per AGOA.