Rwanda and Israel have a lot in common, especially a tragic past that hit the two nations: the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, and the Holocaust.
However, Ron Adam, the new Israeli Ambassador to Rwanda, is full of optimism that Rwanda is becoming an interesting place to visit, and says development of local tourism is among his goals that also include smart agriculture, ICT, and building ecosystem for innovation.
“Tourism is my goal, …to bring Israelis here as a new destination, a new exciting place for Israelis to come, a new destination,” he said.
“Israelis are looking for new destination and I think that we have passed 25 years since the events [Genocide] here, we should of course remember, but also start the chapter of a new image for the country,” he stated.
Kigali City sightseeing tour bus. Nadege Imbabazi.
Adam made the remarks on Wednesday while speaking to journalists after paying his first official visit to the President of the Senate of Rwanda, Bernard Makuza, a visit which aimed at knowing about what the Senate does and its responsibilities as well as discussing ways to further advance the cooperation between the two countries.
The envoy presented his credentials last month to represent his country in Rwanda.
He is the first ambassador of Israel who is resident in Rwanda.
“The relations [between Rwanda and Israel are not new, the relations are deep already, but the Embassy will do new things, the Embassy will push for projects and this is the goal, being here is different from not being here. Israeli businesspeople are coming… there are a lot of cooperation, but we need to do more, and when you’re here, it’s much better,” he noted.
Makuza said that the two countries share a tragic past – genocide – and now, it’s time to share development.
“We should also continue to remember and look ahead for the rebuilding of our countries. We have similarities for what happened, but, we also want to share development,” Makuza said.
He observed that there are strong activities [such as] in agriculture, and energy [that Israel is funding]. “They also want to help develop tourism which will be much facilitated by our transport agreement because RwandAir is going to start flights to Israel,” he said.
“That is a good development because Israel is a country with which we have many similarities, especially as both countries suffered genocide.
Earlier this month, Rwanda and Netafim, an Israeli irrigation technology firm, signed a deal in which the latter will invest $66.5 million (about Rwf60 billion) to develop 5,600 hectares of Gabiro Agribusiness Hub Project in Eastern Province.