Rwanda values strong strategic partnership with India
Rwanda values the strong strategic partnership with India, which has served as a foundation for a number of bilateral cooperation programs and projects.
This was stressed Saturday by Olivier Nduhungirehe, Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as he addressed a biennial investors’ summit in Gujarat, India.
At the 9th Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit 2019, Nduhungirehe who was representing President Paul Kagame, who is also Chair of the African Union, noted that the two countries’ bilateral relations have been further cemented through the exchange of High level visits.
At the leadership level, President Kagame has already visited India five times including most recently when he participated at the eighth Vibrant Gujarat Summit and the International Solar Alliance Summit in March 2018.
In July 2018, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi became the first Indian Premier to ever visit Rwanda, a visit that Nduhungirehe said “remains memorable and holds a special place in the minds of the Rwandan people”.
“Rwandans still keep strong memories of a particular gift from Prime Minister Modi,” Nduhungirehe said, referring to the Indian Premier’s 200 cows donation to inhabitants of Rweru Village, as a contribution to the ‘Girinka’ program last year.
The ‘Girinka’ program is a social protection scheme, where the poorest families are gifted dairy cows by the government, and the first female calf born to the cow is gifted to a neighbor to promote not only economic solidarity, but also brotherhood and consideration.
“The value of such a gift from a culture where cows have a special significance – can only take its whole meaning in another culture – that holds cows in the same high regard.”
The Minister noted that in addition to the good bilateral relations, trade and investments between India and Rwanda have experienced positive growth trajectory with more than $600 million worth of investments and 142 companies registered.
He said that major investments from India to Rwanda are in the manufacturing sector which attracted the highest amount of investment with $203 million registered in the last decade; followed by Information and communication sector with $128 million.
Bid to attract more investments from India
In a bid to attract more investments from India, Nduhungirehe said that Rwanda’s major focus is in four areas: manufacturing, agriculture, tourism and Information and Communications Technology (ICT).
“In order to boost local production and consumption of locally made products, we welcome Indian investors or manufacturers to establish their business operations in the areas of construction materials, light manufacturing notably textiles and garments, electronics, packaging materials,” he said.
“Agriculture also drives an important part of Indian investment in Africa. Nearly 80 Indian companies have invested about US$2.5 billion in Africa’s agricultural sector and therefore we wish to attract valuable investments mainly focusing on agro-processing, horticulture, edible oil and irrigation.”
“I wish to reiterate our invitation to the Indian Business Community to visit Rwanda, particularly during the fourth coming Africa CEO forum scheduled for 25-26th March 2019 in Kigali to explore investment opportunities and the attractive incentives provided by the Government of Rwanda.”
The 9th Vibrant Gujarat Summit, unlike previous events, is special considering the introduction of the Africa Day, something Kigali believes is testimony to India’s growing partnership with the African continent.
India has become the 5th largest investor in Africa and a major trading partner.