As two Belgian ministers return to Rwanda from Burundi today, hopes are high that the relations between the two countries will stem even deeper as the officials say they are in the country to devise ways of enhancing bilateral ties.
Much of what is expected from Belgian Foreign Affairs minister Didier Reynders and his Development Cooperation counterpart Alexander De Croo’s visit to Kigali is mainly enhancing partnership in boosting trade relations.
The two countries are currently enjoying good relations that are cross-cutting in different sectors ranging from commercial to political spheres.
Both Reynders and De Croo are today expected to meet with Foreign Affairs minister Louise Mushikiwabo with whom they will discuss matters related to enhancing relations.
The Private Sector Federation (PSF) is already in the process of tapping benefits that would come with enhanced relations.
According to PSF’s Chief Advocacy Officer, Gerald Mukubu, improved relations has a multiplier effect on Rwanda’s economy since production would as well increase.
“Our local production would increase hence, our exports would as well increase, which is good news to us. Belgium already wants to support some of our programmes like access to finance,” he said.
Mukubu added that, “Belgium wants to triple its portfolio in Rwanda and we, as the private sector, are ready to exploit that opportunity by giving them our proposals since they have expressed interests in investing 50 per cent in elaborating feasibility studies.”
Currently, Belgium’s aid to Rwanda is Euro 160 million rolled out through a five-year Indicative Cooperation Programme signed in 2011 between the two governments.
Currently, there are several mega Belgian companies that have extended their operations in the country, including Skol Breweries and SN Brussels.
Several Belgian mining companies like Minetain, GeoRwanda, Somuki and Corem have explored the Rwandan market as well.
Beside the official cooperation, there are other cooperation areas through other means like university exchange programmes.
There are also exchanges in primary schools, with more than 50 primary schools where children are exchanging letters.