“RWANDA IS PARTISAN OF A CLEAN AND EQUITABLE WORLD TRADE ENVIRONMENT”
Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Diplomatist|December 2020
Diplomatist Business Editor, Kanchi Batra interviewed the new High Commissioner of Rwanda to India, where the envoy discussed Rwanda’s strategic relationship with India and how the two countries continue to evolve and cooperate to add value to their relations. She also talked about the unique aspects of Rwanda’s business culture and exciting opportunities for future growth.

How has been your experience since you began your diplomatic assignment in India?

I am glad to be enjoying the 10th month of my stay in New Delhi and I feel proud to represent my country in this great Nation. Since my arrival in this incredible country, I have enjoyed full support from everyone despite the COVID-19 pandemic that messed up everything. Most importantly, the Government of India has been very supportive and even gave me the opportunity to present my Letters of Credence to His Excellency the President of India through video conferencing. I must take this opportunity to thank the Ministry of External Affairs and other Government Institutions for their continued support. I look forward to also present my Credentials to the Heads of State of Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Maldives.

The Diplomatic Corps has also been supportive and still continues to be.

With the support from various Indian Chambers, our Mission has organized a good number of vibrant virtual meetings on Trade, Investment and Tourism opportunities in Rwanda. More similar sessions will continue to be organized.

How can Rwanda become an important stakeholder in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)?

The AfCFTA, that officially commenced on 1st January 2021, will boost intra-African trade, promote industrialization and competitiveness and contribute to job creation. This agreement, which is a very significant catalyst to Africa’s integration is part of the fundamental structural transformation that is required to secure a future with sustainable economic and industrial growth.

This agreement is a continent-wide agreement and state parties - countries which have ratified the agreement - are committed to its implementation.

This is displayed with the majority of signatories to the agreement and the timely ratifications that took place in order for it to commence. There is indeed the desire to see Africa not only grow economically but also build a stronger Union.

With regards to the role that Rwanda plays and how it can be an important stakeholder in the implementation of the AfCFTA, it should be noted that this is first and foremost, a continent-wide initiative that requires the utmost participation of all parties involved for it to be a success. Rwanda had the privilege of hosting the historic signing of this agreement on March 8th, 2018 and it is with such privilege that comes responsibility. Rwanda, through the able impetus by H.E. President Paul Kagame, has offered its contribution till the institutionalisation of the AfCTA. It is Rwanda’s responsibility to lead by example as it has done in a number of other instances. Rwanda can become an important stakeholder by making sure we liberalize our trade policies and by doing so empower other countries to emulate.

Rwanda is partisan of a clean and equitable world trade environment and supports a healthy business and trade between the African Continent and the rest of the world.

The AfCFTA also feeds into Pan-Africanism and builds a stronger African agency. This agreement catalyzes the work of the African Union Reform that is underway and championed by H.E. Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda, whose mandate is to build on the spirit of Pan-Africanism and create a cohesive system within the Union that engages every African within or outside the continent. By championing the reforms of the African Union, Rwanda is in a position to better influence the uptake and smooth operationalization of the agreement, considering it highlights and attempts to solve a number of issues such as the lack of coordination within the Union and with other Regional Economic Communities (RECs). These are some of the ways that Rwanda can play an active role in the implementation of the AfCFTA.

It is remarkable to see how Rwanda transformed itself so quickly and bounced back into international reckoning after the 1994 genocide.

In July 1994, soldiers of the Rwandese Patriotic Army liberated Kigali, and put an end to 100 days of genocide against the Tutsi in which over one million of innocent lives perished.

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