President Paul Kagame on Thursday, November 10 said that though Rwanda and Barbados are both small in size, they share a common vision of thinking big and towards improving the lives of the people. Kagame was addressing a joint press conference together with the Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Amor Motley, who is in Rwanda for a state visit aimed at enhancing bilateral ties between both countries. Asked about his hopes for deeper cooperation between African Union (AU) and the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM), Kagame recognised that they had both agreed to create a bridge between the two regions, exploring different areas of interest including trade and investment, sports, tourism, agriculture, aviation among others. “We are both small countries but with a big vision to elevate the standard of life of our people, working with other countries in our regions,” said the head of state, adding, “We are not necessarily impaired by geographical size.” With the right action and network, Kagame said Africa and the Caribbean countries have a role in the changing new world order, pointing out that more than ever, there is a need for countries in the path of development to look up to each other and exploit the linkages available. “One thing we sure have is the brain. We think and we think big for that matter. We are not impaired by geography and we think together with others. We seek to make an impact using the thoughts that we bring to the table and the voice to speak out on issues,”Kagame said. “When we act together as small countries, we become much bigger and the ideas have much impact. This is what we seek to continue to do. In our positions, we understand what it means to be at the high table, and we are there,” he added. For Prime Minister Motley, Africa and the Caribbeans are two regions that share centuries of history but remain far apart, with limited connectivity between countries and people, yet there are immense opportunities to explore. “We are also working to see how we can revert centuries of time. We have regrettably had direct passage between Africa and the Caribbean only for nefarious purposes in the past, it is now time that we do it for our own honourable purposes and to expand the opportunities for our people,” she asserted. According to her, one of the key advantages of small countries is that they feel, see and hear people and everything they do centres around people. “We bring a humanising impact on almost every perspective that we have. We don’t have the luxury of not seeing people or feeling people and that is why in many instances you will see that the perspective we take, whether it is in climate, whether it is in financial reforms, whatever aspect of international relations, it is about propelling our people to our next stage of development,” she said. “Our nimbleness provides for agility that large countries don’t have,” Mottley added. The call to deepen relations between Africa and the Caribbean is long overdue, analysts say. For instance, research by the International Trade Centre (ITC) indicates that not even 0.1 per cent of African exports headed to the Caribbean region in 2020, while Africa also bought less than one percent of Caribbean exports. This is despite a trade potential of $1 billion (over the next five years), the agency added. Africa could boost annual exports to the Caribbean by US$171 million year-over-year by 2026, and the Caribbean could also expand exports to Africa by US$80 million year-over-year, equivalent to increasing current exports by almost a third, latest data indicate.