There is heightened optimism of stronger economic bilateral ties between Rwanda and Barbados, officials have said. The observation was pointed out on Wednesday during the Rwanda, Barbados Investment Forum hosted at the Kigali Convention Center (KCC). A delegation of Barbadian businesses, who have been in the country since Monday, met their Rwandan counterparts during a forum, in a move described as “taking further steps to strengthen trade and investment relations.” Also present were Heads of government and private sector executives, from both countries, whose deliberations centered around exchange of knowledge and best-practice while increasing investments such as; tourism, sports development, air connectivity and logistics, digital and financial services, green investments among others. “We have come this far in order to strengthen our economic ties and to take Barbados a few steps further along the lines of shaping destiny, building economic resilience and beginning a pathway towards prosperity for our people,” said Kerrie D. Symmonds, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade for Barbados. He added, “We believe on the basis of the relationship developed between President Kagame and Prime Minister Mottley, that this is a common vision for the people of Rwanda and Barbados and an opportunity to be grasped to broaden our economic development agenda.” President Paul Kagame visited Barbados early this year, during which he also pushed for deeper economic ties. Both countries have since signed a bilateral air service agreement as well as sport development partnership. Clare Akamanzi, Rwanda Development Board (RDB) Chief Executive Officer, commended the fast steps that have been taken to strengthen economic relations between the two countries and noted that Rwanda will be looking to tap into the more advanced economic sectors of Barbados such as tourism, financial and sports. “Usually when you look at the map, you think that Barbados is very far from Rwanda but I must say, the more we work together and collaborate, somehow that distance begins to reduce,” she asserted. For Kaye-Anne Greenidge Chief Executive Officer, Invest Barbados, there is much Barbados can learn from Rwanda, citing that food security is placed at high priority. “We view your nation as an incredible source of investment and trade. Our differences in geographical size or language are really no hindrances.” “Rwanda already has a strong agricultural base and this is an area that we can explore for our mutual benefit. Barbados has placed high priority on the matter of food security, and a non-traditional source market is a major plus. I am sure that there is much that we can learn from you.” The Barbadian delegation has been in the country since Monday this week, meeting with various Rwandan government and private sector stakeholders to network and learn from each other and visiting the Kigali Special Economic Zone. In a related development, the RDB delegation participating in the 2022 World Travel Market in London met with the Barbadian Minister of Tourism, Hon. Ian Gooding-Edghill and discussed areas of mutual cooperation in tourism between the two countries.