Kagame meets American Jewish Committee delegation


President Kagame in a group photo with the delegation of American Jewish Committee, who were in the country on four-day visit. (Village Urugwiro)

President Paul Kagame yesterday hosted a delegation of about 20 members of the American Jewish Committee (AJC) who were in the country on a four-day visit.

Eliseo Neuman, who heads the Africa Institute at the American Jewish Committee, spoke to reporters on behalf of the delegation and said the visit to Rwanda sought to to explore business opportunities as well as develop a deeper understanding of the historical connection between the Jewish people and the Rwandan people.

Stanley M. Bergman, a member of AJC and Chief Executive of Henry Schein, a US-based distributer of medical, dental and veterinary supplies, said he was moved by the business environment and opportunities the country has to offer.

Bergman speaks to the media shortly after the meeting with the President yesterday. (Courtesy)

“We have found that Rwanda would be an excellent place to do business; the government is supportive and transparent; it is a safe place, clean with a highly educated workforce.  This is a good place to do business,” Bergman said.

“We are laying a foundation now for advancing business between the Jewish Community, the United States of America and Rwanda” he added.

Regarding the shared history of Genocide, Bergman said that the team was impressed by how Rwandans have put aside the dark history of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi to forge a united nation.

He added that the friendship between the AJC and Rwanda will yield strong advocacy against genocide denial across the world.

Some of the members of the American Jewish Committee at the meeting with the President in Kigali yesterday.
The delegation is on a four-day visit to Rwanda.

“We have a common history. But what we came to realise, as we visited Rwanda, is the fact that this is not only a country with a common history with the Jewish people but also a country that has found a way to move forward,” Bergman said.

“There are very few countries that have been able to achieve what President Kagame and the citizens of Rwanda have been able to. It is a remarkable story and you have friends in the United States who will avocate for Rwanda,” he added.

During their stay in Rwanda, the delegation also met with Foreign Affairs minister Louise Mushikiwabo, Rwanda Development Board chief executive Clare Akamanzi, officials from the National Commission for the Fight against the Genocide, among other Rwandan officials.

Members of the American Jewish Committee underlined the shared history between the people of Rwanda and the Jewish people, urging for a deeper relationship.

The team also visited the Kigali Genocide memorial to pay their respects to the victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.