India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has arrived in Rwanda for a two-day state visit this Monday evening as the two countries seek to bolster ties.
The visit follows President Kagame’s recent trips to India. In March this year, the Head of State attended the International Solar Alliance (ISA) Founding Summit in New Delhi. Prior to that, President Kagame had also taken part in the 8th Vibrant Gujarat Summit in January 2017.
The two Heads of State are expected to hold bilateral talks and address a joint press conference. Prime Minister Modi will also attend a State Banquet hosted in his honour by President Kagame.
On the second day of his visit, the Indian Premier will pay respect to the victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi at the Kigali Genocide Memorial, visit Rweru Model Village in Bugesera District and attend an India-Rwanda Business Summit.
India’s Ambassador to Rwanda, Ravi Shankar, told The New Times last week that Modi will be travelling with about 100 Indian business leaders, highlighting growing appetite for the Rwandan market from Indian investors.
“More than 200 business people from both Rwanda and India will attend the business event of which 100 business persons from India representing diverse sectors will be there to explore the investment opportunities that Rwanda has to offer,” he said.
Since the establishment of diplomatic relations between Rwanda and India in 1999, cooperation has grown steadily.
India is in the process of acquiring a Chancellery for their resident Mission in Rwanda. Cooperation between the two countries is focused on infrastructure, trade, agriculture, ICT, capacity building, energy and defence sectors.
Rwanda and India have enjoyed warm bilateral and business relations over the years. Between 2011 and 2015, bilateral trade between the two countries has been valued at $526 million.
According to statistics from Rwanda Development Board (BRD), between 2011 and 2016, Rwanda registered 66 investment projects from India in the fields of telecommunication, hospitality and education, valued at $317.5 million. The investments have attracted more than 3,800 jobs.
Key investments include Airtel, Acacia property developers (Zinc hotel), and Mahatma Gandhi University, and the trend is expected to continue, the ambassador said.
With the Prime Minister’s visit to Rwanda, expectations are high and many Indian business investors could seal investment deals with RDB or their local counterparts.
Shankar highlighted that India seeks to further deepening its economic and technical engagement with Rwanda, as well as promote and facilitate trade between the two countries.
“We have always stood by Rwanda in its quest for economic growth and national development”.
Currently, RwandAir, the national carrier operates flights from Kigali to Mumbai, making connectivity between India and Rwanda easier.
Rwanda’s exports to India include mainly Aluminium waste and scrap, cereal flours and dairy spreads.