URUGWIRO VILLAGE - The outgoing Head of the European Commission in Rwanda, David MacRae yesterday commended the country’s good leadership saying that it is one of the reasons behind the nation’s remarkable recovery.
MacRae made these comments during his last official visit to Urugwiro Village where he had gone to bid farewell to President Paul Kagame at the end of his five-year mandate.
While addressing the press, the outgoing EU chief emphasized that he had initially extended his assignment in Rwanda based on the impressive efforts that the country has attained since the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
“It is motivating to work in a country with such good leadership and committed professional colleagues. “It gives one a feeling to do more to help and I am leaving Rwanda with regret that I am unable to continue work here,” MacRae said.
“Of course all good things come to an end and although people do not often realize, this country that was once destroyed has re-emerged in such a way that it is now a leader in Africa,”
As regards his visit, the EU chief noted that a number of issues were discussed in the brief meeting with Kagame, adding that all are related to boosting the country’s development process.
“We shared progress on what has been done over the years and discussed outstanding consequences of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. Much more still needs to be done to make people more aware of their rights and responsibilities. We are also looking forward to the forthcoming elections in which all people will be fully involved,” he added.
Highlighting some of the achievements that have characterized his tenure in Rwanda, the EU official said that the Commission has worked with the government on the cooperative programme development as well as budgetary support.
“It has been very good to work with the local people under the Ubudehe programme because it is a process where the people decide how they want to develop and through this they could directly communicate what they want to see done such as increased access to safe water among others,” he added.
He also said that there has been consultation on policies and putting money through national systems, road construction and other forms of infrastructure. Constraints such as capacity building have also been addressed.
MacRae’s is now set to be the next Head of the EU Delegation in Nigeria and the ECOWAS region.
In a related development, the new Regional Director of United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DfID) in East and Central Africa, Joy Hutcheon, also paid a courtesy call on President Kagame.
Hutcheon who recently replaced Dave Fish the former Regional Director, affirmed continued cooperation between the UK and Rwanda adding that information she has, Kagame and other partners will help during her term of office.
“Issues like the financial crisis have had an impact on the United Kingdom, but political leaders are very committed to the importance of supporting developing countries like Rwanda, so this crisis will not in any way impact our support,” Hutcheon assured.
The former DfID Regional Director, Dave Fish was transferred to Zimbabwe.