Tackling non-tariff barriers is key to economic growth, says Kaberuka

25/06/2015
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African Development Bank President Donald Kaberuka paid a visit to Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame on June 23 to brief him on progress made since he was elected and re-elected as the Bank’s head in 2005 and 2010, respectively.

Kaberuka thanked Kagame, the government, and the people of Rwanda for supporting his candidature for Bank’s presidency. “The mission you sent me to do I have completed in two terms. It is my responsibility to come and report back,” said Kaberuka, whose term comes to an end on August 31, 2015.

“Some things I have done well, others less well. I may even have made mistakes as a leader, but that is all part of the process,” he told a press conference. The two Presidents talked about the development of Africa, the global economy, and relationship between Rwanda and the AfDB. The Bank’s current portfolio in Rwanda totals US $1.65 billion. The institution has supported critical areas as infrastructure development, skills development, agriculture, science and technology, private sector development and regional integration.

Kaberuka reiterated that non-tariff restrictions continued to stifle growth on the continent. He noted that countries needed to make faster growth in addressing these barriers. “Tariffs are no longer the major issue, but free movement of people and logistics for more efficient supply of goods and services.” He lauded parts of East Africa that are dealing with non-tariff barriers (NTBs) on the Northern Corridor, thus fueling development.

Also present at the media briefing was Claver Gatete, Rwanda’s Finance Minister, who said, in addition to addressing NTBs, countries needed to urgently solve the infrastructure problem on the continent. He lauded the Africa50 infrastructure fund, which seeks to bridge the infrastructure gap. He called for cooperation in order to realise Africa50’s mandate. “Partnership is important. We have to work to mobilise investors on the continent and outside,” Gatete said.

Africa50, a brainchild of Kaberuka, has so far raised about US $700 million.

Kaberuka is on an East Africa tour, meeting with Kagame in Rwanda and Presidents Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, and Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta. The tour ends on June 25.