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Indi-Rwanda partnership

President Paul Kagame (L) and Indian Prime Minister Modi met on the sidelines of the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit

Rwandair, Agriculture, Energy, Defense to benefit

Rwanda President Paul Kagame while on a visit to India invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Jan.10 to work out collaboration on exploring the methane reserves in his country.

India which is in the midst of an energy quest, according to news reports there, accepted to take its search to east-central Africa and has elevate its partnership with Rwanda to a strategic level.

”Presently, Rwanda’s economy is growing at high pace. It is rebuilding its economy and India stands to gain a lot from this partnership,” an Indian official told journalists.

India extended $120 million in credit to bring over 41,190 hectares of cultivable land under irrigation in Rwanda.

India’s Line of Credit to Rwanda and the development of Export Targeted Irrigated Agriculture Project and its expansion “would bring irrigation facilities to more than 41,190 hectares of cultivable land” according to a joint statement issued by the two countries. They agreed to fast-track its implementation.

The joint statement was issued after bilateral talks between Kagame and Modi.

President Kagame was on his maiden official working visit to India between Jan.09 and 11.

Kagame also used the occasion to sign the instrument for Rwanda to become the 25th co-signatory to the International Solar Alliance, an Indian initiative.

“The two leaders acknowledged the importance of this alliance in advancing new solar technologies worldwide. The two leaders also recalled the solar electrification of 35 schools in rural Rwanda under a grant from government of India as an example of South-South cooperation,” the joint statement said.

The statement said the development of Export Targeted Irrigated Agriculture Project “would benefit the people of Rwanda through construction of watershed works, farm mechanization and establishment of post- harvest processing units of agricultural produce”.

President Kagame acknowledged India’s assistance in augmenting Rwanda’s electricity production with the commissioning of the 28 MW Hydroelectric Project on the Nyabarongo River under a line of credit of $80 million.

Through lines of credit, India conveyed its readiness to support phase II of the Nyabarongo power project, Technical and Vocational Training Centres (TVET) and Huye-Kibeho road project.

Prime Minister Modi further announced gifting of $2 million worth of medicines and a cash grant of $1 million for sourcing medical equipment from India.

Calling terrorism a “serious threat to humanity”, both leaders reiterated their strong commitment to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and stressed that there can be no justification for acts of terror on any grounds whatsoever, agreeing that there should be zero tolerance on terrorism.

Rwanda appreciated the training of its defence forces in various Indian Army training institutions under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) initiative.

The two sides also noted with satisfaction that training and scholarships under India-Africa Forum Summit process are an important mechanism for training and capacity building, the statement read.

India and Rwanda exchanged the Memorandum of Understanding on Forensic Sciences by the Gujarat Forensic Sciences University to support Rwanda’s National Police in modernising Forensic investigations.

Welcoming the initiative of a direct RwandAir flight from capital city Kigali to Mumbai, the joint statement said: “Both sides continue to work on concluding a Bilateral Air Services Agreement and an agreement for the exemption of visa for diplomatic and official passport holders.”

Both sides also agreed to strengthen the bilateral cooperation in culture, tourism, and people to people link between the youth of Rwanda and India.

India is considering opening a resident mission in Rwanda’s capital Kigali.

“President Kagame welcomed increased private sector investments from India, highlighting progress in business and investment climate that makes Rwanda a competitive and conducive environment to do business.”

In the five years between 2011-2015, bilateral trade between India and Rwanda reached $526 million.

The two countries acknowledging their “common experiences with colonialism” decided to work towards doubling their bilateral trade.

Under the arrangement, India is seeking to support the reconciliation and post-conflict peace processes in Rwanda.

“The partnership is strategic for us. President Kagame has extended an invitation to the Prime Minister to visit Rwanda and discuss the possibility of joint gas exploration,” an official privy to the talks told the New Indian Express.

According to the Rwanda Development Board (RDB), between 2011 and 2016, Rwanda registered 66 investment projects from India valued at $317.5 million that has created over 3800 jobs in various fields including telecommunication, hospitality and education.

According to the Indian press, the low population in Rwanda of 11.78 million presents more opportunities for Indian nationals to gain as Indian investment will create employment opportunities for people emigrating from India to Rwanda.

India currently stands far behind from China in investing in Rwanda. Beijing has been investing heavily in building schools, roads, hotels and hospitals in the country. So much so Rwanda’s foreign ministry has been designed and constructed by Chinese engineers and Rwanda is fast becoming the hub of Chinese investment in Africa.

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