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President of Rwanda Paul Kagame this afternoon received a warm welcome from Governor-General, Sir Patrick Allen, Prime Minister Andrew Holness, Leader of the Opposition Mark Golding, and senior Government officials as he embarked on a three-day State visit.

Kagame arrived at the Norman Manley International Airport today. 

Chief Justice Bryan Sykes and the Chief of Defence Staff, Rear Admiral Antonette Wemyss-Gorman, were also among scores of officials who greeted the Rwandan president.

The East African president will, among other things, hold bilateral talks with Holness.

His visit comes during Jamaica's 60th year of Independence.

Rwanda is also celebrating 60 years of independence this year.

His first order of business was to lay a floral tribute at the shrine of Jamaica's first National Hero Marcus Mosiah Garvey at the National Heroes Park.

Later this evening, the Rwandan leader will participate in the launch of “Jamaica 60” on the lawns of Jamaica House.

On Thursday, Kagame will make a courtesy call on Sir Patrick and Lady Allen at Kings House.

At 2 pm the Rwandan president will make a presidential address to members of Jamaica's bi-cameral legislature during a joint sitting of the Houses of Parliament.

Kagame will also meet with Leader of the Opposition Mark Golding on Thursday afternoon.

On Friday, the Rwandan president will meet with Holness at Jamaica House and hold bilateral talks.

The Rwandan president will be the incoming Chairman of the Commonwealth Conference of Heads of State and Government for the coming two years.

The next meeting of Commonwealth countries will be hosted by Kagame in Rwanda, at which time a decision will be made on who will be the secretary general for the next four years.

Jamaica's Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Minister Kamina Johnson Smith and incumbent Baroness Patricia Scotland appear to be the leading contenders for the post at this time.

In a statement to Parliament last week, Holness said that the Jamaican Government did not intend to discuss with the Rwandan leader issues surrounding the race for the secretary general post.

As leader of the Rwandan Patriot Front, Kagame defeated Hutu extremist forces to end the 1994 Rwandan genocide which saw an estimated 800,000 people killed.

He became the country's sixth president in 2000.

He was re-elected in 2010 and again in 2017, on a mandate to continue the stability and growth he brought to the country.

Kagame has been hailed for ushering in changes that have brought unprecedented socio-economic and political progress, peace, stability, as well as social cohesion to the Rwanda.

The country of approximately 12.3 million people, 50 per cent of which are under 20 years old, is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, at about eight per cent per annum.

Meanwhile, the new Rwandan Ambassador Claver Gatete formally presented his credentials to the Governor-General on Monday.

Gatete is a former finance and infrastructure minister in Kagame's Cabinet and was appointed earlier this year as ambassador-designate and permanent representative of Rwanda to the United Nations.

He has previously served as ambassador to the United Kingdom and Rwanda's central bank governor. - The Gleaner


Rwandan President Kagame Monday travelled to Brazzaville, Republic of Congo, for a three-day state visit to strengthen bilateral relations with the oil-rich nation.

Presidents Kagame and Denis Sassou N’Guesso of Congo Brazzaville are expected to hold a tête-à-tête meeting followed by a bilateral meeting alongside their delegations.

On Monday evening, President Kagame addressed a joint session of both the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies that make up the Congolese Congress, and later attended a presidential banquet with his counterpart.

In his address, President Kagame address reflected on both countries’ cooperation and aspirations in trade, security, partnership, and Covid-19 vaccination goals.

Kagame said that the youth should be considered at the forefront.

“Our joint efforts should continue to provide opportunities for young Africans, who are Africa’s biggest and most valuable resource, to enable our youth to utilize and benefit from their energies and talents,” he said.

“We cannot take pride in saying the right things, for decades, and then find ourselves many years from now, having said the right things but not actually achieved much,” he said.

President Kagame also touched on Rwanda’s efforts to promote and keep peace on the African continent and commended President Denis Sassou N’Guesso’s role as the Chairperson of the African Union high level Committee on Libya.

“Rwanda continues to be active in United Nation’s peacekeeping missions with over 5000 troops currently serving in the Central African Republic and South Sudan…In our Great Lakes Region, persistent fight against armed groups particularly in eastern DRC requires close and persistent regional collaboration,” Kagame added.

After visiting Brazzaville, both Presidents will head to Oyo, in the Cuvette region.

The representatives from both delegations will sign agreements in areas of cooperation on areas such as political and economic cooperation as well as trade, according to a communique by President Kagame’s office.

“This visit denotes, once again, the deep friendship between the two Heads of State and mainly the commendable quality of cooperation between Congo and Rwanda,” read the statement by President Kagame’s office.

The last time Rwanda and Congo-Brazzaville held discussions was 12 years ago when President Sassou N’Guesso invited President Kagame to talks about Rwandan refugees who had been living in the country for 16 years at the time.

The Congolese government had requested that Rwandan refugees return home because there was peace in Rwanda.

This was before Rwanda scrapped the refugee status for citizens living abroad in 2018.

Weeks after President Kagame’s visit, the national carrier, RwandAir, began flights to Brazzaville.

According to UN data, by the 2000s, Congo-Brazzaville hosted 5,000 Rwandan refugees who fled after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

During the visit, both presidents also signed agreements on bolstering economic ties through increasing trade and commerce and increasing political cooperation.

At the time, President Kagame also addressed a joint session of both the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies. Kagame had visited Congo-Brazzaville before in 2004 during the country’s independence ceremony.

Throughout the years, Rwanda and Congo-Brazzaville have enjoyed bilateral cooperation in trade.

In 2016, Rwanda’s private sector held a seven-day trade exhibition in Pointe-Noire, the second largest and commercial capital of the Republic of Congo, in an effort to promote locally made products in other African countries.

The government gave $150,000 as support for 30 traders who were exhibiting goods in a bid to access the 5.5 million population market.

In 2011, President Sassou N’Guesso paid a three-day visit to Kigali at the invitation of President Kagame.

Last year in November, delegations from both countries convened in Kigali and signed agreements that would remove double taxation and visa requirements to ease trade between both countries. They also signed agreements around military, education, and land management. - Ange Iliza, The EastAfrican


Further strengthening and expanding dialogue and cooperation with our African partners remains an important goal for this Federal Government – not despite, but precisely because of, the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine. Because it has repercussions far beyond Europe. Germany is broadly engaged in both Tanzania and South Sudan as a partner for security, democracy-building and development.

We want to continue to support South Sudan in implementing the 2018 peace agreement. During my talks, I will be voicing our expectation that the process of transition be completed rapidly. German engagement remains necessary particularly in view of the difficult humanitarian conditions and the human rights situation in the country.

We have maintained close cooperation with Tanzania for sixty years already. We want to build on this foundation and together tackle major issues defining the future. However, a true partnership also includes an acknowledgement of our historical responsibility and a reckoning with the crimes committed by Germans during the colonial era. To this end, we will take further concrete steps with the National Museum of Tanzania as part of our museum cooperation.

Background information:

The Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office, Katja Keul, is visiting Tanzania and South Sudan from 9 to 14 April. Political talks with high-level government members as well as opposition and civil-society representatives are planned in both countries. In Dar es Salaam, the focus will be on strengthening bilateral relations, as well as on democracy and human rights and regional security issues. Another priority will be to tackle the German colonial history. In Juba, talks will concentrate on the implementation of the peace process and the human rights situation, particularly the protection of women and girls against conflict-related sexual violence. In this context, the Minister of State will be meeting the Head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), members of the German contingent, and others. - Federal Foreign Office, Germany

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