New envoys vow to focus on trade as they get senate nod

The Senate on Thursday approved ten new envoys who were last week nominated by President Paul Kagame as he made changes to the Rwandan diplomatic corps, appointing and redeploying 15 envoys to different countries in Africa and beyond.

The other five who were just redeployed did not require vetting by senate.


All the new envoys appointed by the president were approved by the Senate and many of them told senators during the vetting process that they would focus on strengthening relations between Rwanda and foreign countries, especially in the areas of trade and investment.


The approved envoys include outgoing City of Kigali Mayor Marie-Chantal Rwakazina, who will serve as the new ambassador to the Swiss Confederation, replacing François-Xavier Ngarambe, who was redeployed to France.


Senator Mike Rugema, the chairperson of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and Security, which examined the envoys’ profiles, said that Rwakazina pledged to increase contact with private Swiss entrepreneurs to interest them on investment opportunities in Rwanda.

Rwakazina, who has a master’s degree in development studies, has experience working with the UN system and wants to expand the work of the Rwandan Embassy in the Swiss confederation beyond engagements with UN agencies to tapping into the vibrant Swiss private sector and encourage it to invest in Rwanda.

The approved envoy for the newly created high commission in Ghana, Dr. Aissa Kirabo Kacyira, told the senators that she will leverage her presence in Ghana to follow up on the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and inform Rwanda on how to take advantage.

Early this month, the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of AU selected Ghana as the host country for the AfCFTA secretariat.

Kacyira, who was once the Mayor of the City of Kigali and Governor of Eastern Province, was until recently the deputy executive director of UN Habitat based in Nairobi, Kenya.

The new ambassador to Qatar where another new embassy was created, François Nkulikiyimfura, also pledged to promote trade, tourism, and investment, by especially following up on Qatar’s pledged investments in the new Bugesera International Airport.

Nkulikiyinfura, who was also approved, had been working with the African Development Bank before his appointment.

Senators also approved the appointment of Emmanuel Hategeka as the new envoy to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the former deputy CEO of Rwanda Development Board has vowed to strengthen the already good relations between Rwanda and the UAE, especially in the areas of trade and investment.

Yasmin Amri Sued, who has been a diplomat at the Rwandan mission in the United Arab Emirates, was approved as ambassador to Korea, where she will replace Emma-Francoise Isumbingabo.

The new Rwandan envoy to Korea told senators that she is aware of the responsibilities she will take up and wants to strengthen the existing relations between the two countries, especially in the areas of education and culture, as well as agriculture and ICT.

Jean de Dieu Uwihanganye, who was approved as high commissioner to Singapore, told senators that he will especially work to strengthen cooperation in the area of air safety control, trade, and infrastructure development where the Singaporean expertise would be useful for Rwanda.

He will also promote Rwanda-centred tourism and trade in other neighbouring countries of Australia, Indonesia, and New Zealand.

Until his appointment as the new envoy to Singapore, Uwihanganye has been the Minister of State in charge of Transport in the Ministry of Infrastructure.

As for Major-General Charles Karamba, who has been approved as the new ambassador to Tanzania, he has pledged to strengthen cooperation with Tanzania in the areas of trade and security.

Karamba, who has been the Chief of Staff of the Air Force in Rwanda Defence Force, will replace Eugène Kayihura at the Rwandan mission in Tanzania who has been redeployed to South Africa as a high commissioner.

Senators also approved Wellars Gasamagera as ambassador to Angola, Prosper Higiro as high commissioner to Canada, and James Kimonyo as ambassador to China.

Gasamagera will replace Alfred Kalisa who was redeployed to Egypt while Kimonyo – who had previously served as ambassador in Kenya, South Africa and the United States, will replace Lt Gen Charles Kayonga.

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