Covid-19 has changed commerce and trade forever as new technologies change the dynamics of the global economy and disrupt industries, His Excellency President Paul Kagame said earlier today during his special address at the Global Business Forum (GBF) Africa in Dubai.
In a recorded video message, H.E. Kagame explained how the global economy, while slowly getting back on its feet, would never revert to its former model.
“No country or continent has been spared the damaging effects of the COVID pandemic. Africa is no exception. As vaccine distribution improves globally, the pandemic is becoming more manageable. Travel and commerce are beginning to recover. However, we are not going back to the same economy that we knew in 2019,” said the President.
“Some of the changes will be profound and lasting. The crisis in international shipping and transportation is already generating new thinking. Manufacturing and supply chains will need to become more resilient to more local and more technologically advanced. Fourth Industrial Revolution, innovations in artificial intelligence and 3D printing, for example, are making it possible to make products almost anywhere at a competitive cost,” he added.
His Excellency said that this new economic paradigm would give his country many opportunities, with the global pandemic occurring alongside technological advancements having opened doors for sectors of the Rwanda economy, as well as for the wider continent of Africa.
“Lifesaving vaccines and other pharmaceuticals will increasingly be produced in a decentralised fashion, including in Rwanda, thanks to advances in engineering and more partnerships with companies like BioNTech and others. Last week, the fifteenth ratification of the African Medicines Agency treaty was deposited with the African Union under the treaty and will therefore come into force next month. The establishment of this body will be a game-changer for Africa's ability to produce high quality vaccines and medicines for our continent,” he said.
Finally, His Excellency stressed the positive impact of the new African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), saying that it would create more international as well as intra-Africa trade and that it would deepen the longstanding relationship between his continent, Dubai and the UAE.
“The progress of African economic integration will mean more trade and investment between Africa and the rest of the world, not less. The United Arab Emirates and Dubai, in particular, have long played a key role in linking Africa to the wider global economy. This interconnectedness has been mutually beneficial, and we wish to continue to deepen those collaborations,” he added.
Organised by Dubai Chamber in partnership with Expo 2020 Dubai, the 6th edition of GBF Africa is being held under the theme Transformation Through Trade and explores new avenues of economic cooperation between the UAE and Africa.