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South-South Summit: Why We Chose Kagame as keynote Speaker – Delta commissioner
24 Apr 2012: Paul Osuyi

President Paul Kagame of Rwanda was chosen as the keynote speaker for the second South-south Economic Summit because of the transformation of Rwanda under his watch from an ailing economy to the fastest growing economy in Africa, it was learnt yesterday in Asaba.

Billed for Asaba, the Delta State capital, the summit will open on April 25 and end on April 28. It will focus on three key areas of development, security and investment.

The summit was packaged by the governors of the South-south region under the aegis of BRACED (Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa-Ibom, Cross River, Edo and Delta) Commission and was aimed at economic integration of states in the region.

Addressing journalists yesterday, Delta State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Chike Ogeah, said Kagame had been able to turn around a dwindling Rwandan economy to a more sort-after by her African counterparts.

He said the economy of Rwanda had become a model for most developing countries, adding that the West had described it as the fastest growing economy in Africa. According to him, Kagame, who rose to power in July 1994, effectively ended the Rwanda genocide that had already claimed over 1.5 million people.

He stated that under Kagame’s watch, Rwanda is called Africa’s biggest success story, adding that Kagame had become a public advocate of new models for foreign aid designed to help recipients become self-reliant.

Ogeah noted that the South-south region and Nigeria in general had a lot to learn from the success story of Rwanda especially at this period of the nation’s security challenges. Throwing more light on the integration of states of the region, Ogeah stated that governors of the oil-rich region were looking beyond sustaining their economy beyond oil, noting that the summit would afford them the opportunity to further strengthen the co-operation.

He said the aim was to de-emphasis unhealthy rivalry among the states and encourage economic co-operation with the ultimate goal of returning the nation to the era of regions when fiscal federalism was really practiced.

“In the South-south region, we have similar challenges and it is better we start finding solutions to such challenges collectively. And if you watch, the trend lately is to encourage that gradual shift to integrated cooperation among states of a particular region and de-emphasis unnecessary competition.

“This is our second in the series. The first one was held in Calabar in 2010 and we are interested in taking the nation to days of four regions when fiscal federalism was in real practice. For me, the summit is the turning point we need and not all these talks about sovereign national conference,” Ogeah said.

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