President Paul Kagame has set the tone for the need to improve direct cooperation between Rwanda and Jamaica based on historical ties. He was addressing a joint session of the Jamaican parliament on Thursday, April 14, as part of the agenda during his three-day visit in the country. The address also came as part of the occasion to celebrate the launch of Jamaica60 in honour of their 60th Independence anniversary due on August 6, this year. Independence is a date in history but it is also a mindset, said Kagame, adding that the power of an anniversary comes from the opportunity to remind a new generation of the struggles that came before. “From the struggle of independence to the subsequent challenges of nation building, the Pan-African idea has served as a guide of how things should be, even if we do not always live up to it in practice,” he said. He added that it is more important to uphold the spirit of self-reliance to sustain and deepen what has been accomplished in the time since. “Whatever we have managed to do for ourselves as a people, we can always do more and better.” Pointing at different multilateral bodies that both countries belong to, the President said that Africa and Caribbean do not have to relate to each other through intermediaries, even if there is no problem in it, but they could do it otherwise, ‘directly’. He said that both countries’ diplomats often meet in New York, London or Geneva while young people tend to meet each other only at universities and similar places, something that can be improved. “It is high time for Africa and the Caribbean to work together in a direct and sustained manner, both through our representative regional organizations, CARICOM, African Union and bilaterally.” The first Africa-CARICOM summit last September was long overdue and must be built upon, he added. Besides that, the President said that there should be direct people-to-people exchanges particularly for the youth and entrepreneurs. “In Rwanda, we have already had several Jamaican professionals come to our country and make meaningful contributions.” The Head of State also highlighted key potential areas of cooperation and exchange, stating trade and investment, as well as national unity and citizen development. “Let’s exchange with each other directly and thereby, honor the history that joins us and make it a potent force of practical cooperation in the modern world,” he emphasized. Kagame further gave a warm welcome to Jamaican representatives in the upcoming CHOGM 2022 summit, stating that he hopes to see a strong representation from the Commonwealth Caribbean. “As the newest member of the Commonwealth, Rwanda is proud to host the next Heads of Government Meeting in Kigali in June this year…Africa and Caribbean should work together to advance common positions in these bodies where our interests align as they often do,” he said.