Rwanda, Japan commit to strengthen trade ties

Rwanda, Japan commit to strengthen trade ties

Rwanda and Japan have committed to strengthening bilateral ties and increasing avenues of cooperation for the mutual benefit of the people of both countries.

The commitment was made this week during an official visit by President Paul Kagame and First Lady Jeannette Kagame to Japan.

“Rwanda remains committed to strengthening cooperation with Japan, in the bilateral as well as the international arena, for the benefit of both our countries. I wish to invite you to visit Rwanda, at a time of your convenience,” Kagame said during a bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Kagame also expressed African Union’s readiness to continue working with Japan on global issues, including United Nations Security Council reforms.

“The African Union will continue to work with Japan and other global partners, in the reforms of the UN Security Council, to make it more relevant to today’s realities,” said Kagame, who is also AU chair.

“Japan is also a good partner for Africa. We look forward to deepening our mutually beneficial cooperation in many areas, during the upcoming TICAD Summit in Yokohama,” he added.

TICAD is a periodic summit that brings together Japanese and African leaders, the United Nations, the World Bank and other international partners aimed at discussing strategic partnerships to advance growth on the continent and the Asian country.

This year, it will be held in the Japanese city of Yokohama in August, following the one that was held in 2016 in Nairobi, Kenya.

Kagame said that during the talks with the Japanese Premier Shinzo Abe, they chose trade and investments among key areas to strengthen.

“Our visit is an opportunity to learn more from each other, and further strengthen our strong bilateral ties, development cooperation as well. We also want to increase trade and investment between Rwanda and Japan,” he said.

Rwanda is also keen to learn from Japan’s experience in urbanisation as the country’s population grows.

“I wish to thank you for Japan’s support to the Kigali Urban Transport Improvement Plan. As Rwanda’s population grows and becomes more urbanised, we are keen to learn from Japan’s longstanding expertise and experience in city planning and urban transport,” the President said to his host.

The President also expressed appreciation for the Asian country’s support in multiple aspects, including agriculture, ICT, and infrastructure.

“I also want to thank you for Japan’s contribution to Rwanda’s human capacity development, through the Africa Business Education Initiative, which is benefitting young Rwandans,” he said.

The Head of State is on Wednesday expected to take part in a business forum as well as a roadshow to introduce Kigali Innovation City to the Japanese investor community.

Yesterday, Takayuki Miyashita, the Ambassador of Japan to Rwanda, and Rwanda’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr Richard Sezibera signed a grant aid project for improving the water supply in Kigali; the Nzove-Ntora Water Principal Pipeline.

Statistics from Rwanda Development Board indicate that the value of Japanese investments in Rwanda has grown to $21.46 million creating 178 jobs in agro-processing, horticulture, mining, ICT and service sectors.

As part of the visit, First Lady Jeannette Kagame was hosted to a working lunch by Mrs. Akie Abe, the wife to Prime Minister Abe.

The First Lady is today expected to take part in a cultural experience known as ‘Ikebana’, the art of flower arrangement, and thereafter pay a courtesy call on the Ashinaga Headquarters.

Ashinaga is a 50-year-old Japanese non-governmental organisation that aims to protect the rights of orphans and eradicate poverty, as well as provide support to orphans to access higher education.

The Ashinaga Africa Institute is currently supporting five Rwandan students, including two currently in Japan.