President Paul Kagame and First Lady Jeannette Kagame yesterday joined thousands of Malagasies to celebrate the 59th Anniversary of the Independence of the island nation on the invitation of Andry Rajoelina, President of the Republic of Madagascar.
Madagascar, a former French colony gained full independence on June 26, 1960.
President Kagame then held bilateral talks with his host President, Rajoelina.
President Kagame and First Lady were later hosted at a State Banquet hosted in their honour at Iavoloha Presidential Palace.
Speaking at the dinner, Kagame said that national unity was a foundation to build sovereignty, security and development.
“I also congratulate you. The unity and strength of this nation were clearly on display today. National unity is the highest political virtue, as well as the foundation of sovereignty, security, and development,” Kagame said.
It’s by coming together that Rwanda found solutions to its unique challenges and its power to transform citizens lives, the president told the audience.
“In Rwanda, by coming together to find solutions to our unique challenges, we found that we actually had the power and resilience to transform our lives for the better. The demonstration of possibility, in the face of adversity, is the most important lesson of our experience,” he said.
Rwanda’s ability to rise amidst the challenges and the adversity was proof that other emerging nations can do the same and better, Kagame said.
Speaking during a brief press conference, President Kagame also expressed his condolences for the loss of lives that took place during a stampede that followed the ceremony:
“Allow me to pass my condolences for the people you just mentioned who lost their lives on such a day that was supposed to be a very happy one. We pray for those people and stand with you and ask when you visit them to convey that we are with you in the pain of their families and the country as such,” Kagame said.
This was the President’s first visit to the island nation and noted that Rwanda looks forward to friendship and cooperation.
The two countries have expressed their willingness to strengthen their bilateral ties and explore cooperation in the areas of mining, tourism, agriculture and legal affairs.
In February this year, Rwanda Development Board (RDB) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Economic Development Board of Madagascar (ECDBM) to increase the flow of investments between the two countries and develop exchanges between the two institutions in a bid to increase capacity and enhance professionalism.