Statement From U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker on Visit to Rwanda

Statement From U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker on Visit to Rwanda

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker today made the following statement about her visit to Rwanda, which is taking place from January 27-28, 2016.

“Today I am joined in Kigali by the group of senior executives who comprise the President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa. Their charge is to provide recommendations to President Obama and me on policy steps we can take to strengthen commercial engagement between the United States and countries across Africa, including how to build lasting partnerships between the U.S. and African private sectors.

“For the Council’s first trip to the continent, they chose Rwanda as one of two destinations because over the past 20 years, the country has been a remarkable success story. Much of this positive progress is the result of a concerted and focused approach to economic and commercial policymaking. The Council members wanted to develop a deeper understanding of what Rwanda has done that has worked, and how Rwanda’s progress can serve as an example for other countries in the region and across the continent.

“Rwanda and the East African Community have a lot to offer U.S. investors. East Africa is the most integrated and fastest-growing regional economic community in Africa. The PAC-DBIA members, as representatives of the American business community, have had the opportunity to share their perspective on policies that can foster deeper economic and trade ties between the EAC and the United States. As part of this visit, our delegation today met with President Kagame for a roundtable discussion on the opportunities presented by regional integration.

“While we continue to deepen our commercial relationships, our delegation arrived at a challenging moment. The United States has expressed its disappointment that President Kagame has chosen to run for a third term in 2017. We believe that respecting established term limits can strengthen democratic institutions and help build a vibrant and free society.  This was among the many topics President Kagame and I discussed today.

“One lesson I have learned during 27 years in the private sector is that senior executives need to foster an environment that encourages ideas and creativity, as well as to plan for leadership transitions that ensure that success is not based on a single leader.  I shared these sentiments with President Kagame as well.

“The relationship between the United States and Rwanda is deep and mature.  Working together, we have seen Rwanda make remarkable progress on economic growth, reducing poverty, promoting education and improving public health. Rwanda’s contributions to peacekeeping have also been significant.

“The depth of our relationship does not mean we never have disagreements; rather, the depth of our relationship means that we discuss disagreements openly and candidly and we work together to address them.”