Indian VP’s visit to shore up ties, start-up linkages

The Vice-President of India, Shri M Hamid Ansari, arrived in the country yesterday on a three-day visit that will see him interact with high-level officials, students, and take part in a business forum.
Makuza receives Ansari at Kigali International Airport yesterday. (Courtesy photos)
Makuza receives Ansari at Kigali International Airport yesterday. (Courtesy photos)

The Vice-President of India, Shri M Hamid Ansari, arrived in the country yesterday on a three-day visit that will see him interact with high-level officials, students, and take part in a business forum.

Ansari is accompanied by his wife, Salma Ansari, and a delegation of government and private sector officials.

According to a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Indian vice-president is expected to hold meetings with President Paul Kagame, Senate president Bernard Makuza, visit Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre, and give an address at the University of Rwanda.

The highlight of his visit is expected to be the business forum and the exhibition bringing together ICT sector players of Rwanda and India, which is being organised to seek mutual partnerships, according to officials.

The event is scheduled for later today at the Kigali Convention Centre.

According to the Chief Executive of Rwanda Development Board, Clare Akamanzi, the Indian vice-president is accompanied by a delegation of 27 people, including 15 innovators.

Akamanzi said five local firms will be showcasing their services with an aim of building mutually beneficial partnerships for both countries. 

The five local firms are national carrier RwandAir, Rwanda Online Platform, Pivot Access, Rwanda Development Board, Carnegie Mellon University Rwanda, and Africa Smart Investments, the authorised distributors of the Made in Rwanda laptops. 

She said the expectations of the Government from the business forum include enforcing bilateral cooperation in several sectors.

“The expectation from the government is to enforce bilateral collaboration especially in the ICT, healthcare, agro-processing, manufacturing sectors with more specification,” Akamanzi said.

Ansari’s visit is in reciprocation of one by President Kagame and a delegation comprising both the public and private sector players in January for the Vibrant Gujarat (VG) Summit in India.

At the forum, Rwanda was part of the countries hosting a trade show and seminar to showcase its business environment and opportunities. 

On the sidelines of the summit, Rwanda and India held bilateral talks led by the heads of state of the two countries to strengthen their relations, which ended with the signing of several agreements.

Among the pacts included an agreement to hold high-level deliberations and exchanges with increased periodicity as well as cooperation to promote investments in mutually beneficial projects.

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Indian Vice-President Ansari, arrived with a delegation of government and private sector officials for a three-day visit.

Rwanda and India also set a target to double bilateral trade in five years as well as well as people-to-people exchanges, especially in movement of professionals in areas like information technology, education, and science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The agreements also included a commitment to collaborate on counterterrorism cooperation, including blocking financing of terrorist activities, removing safe havens for terrorists as well as preventing money laundering.

In boosting ties, the two countries agreed to support each other on matters of mutual interest at the international level, including at the UN, World Trade Organisation and other multilateral avenues.

India then committed to a credit line of $ 120 million for the development and expansion of an Export Targeted Irrigated Agriculture Project that will increase irrigation facilities to 41,190 hectares of cultivable land and expressed readiness to support Technical and Vocational Education and Training centres and Huye-Kibeho road project.

Rwanda’s energy generation plans received a boost from India through a $80 million credit line of a 28-megawatt hydro-electric project on Nyabarongo river.

RwandAir is also set to operate direct flights between Kigali to Mumbai, India.

Rwanda-India ties

Rwanda and India have enjoyed warm bilateral and business relations over the years. Between 2011 and 2015, bilateral trade grew to $526 million

According to RDB, between 2011 and 2016, Rwanda registered 66 investment projects from India valued at $317.5 million, which have translated to over 3,800 jobs in telecommunication, hospitality and education sectors.

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