Japan has pledged a $60-million concessional loan toward the refurbishment of Rusumo-Kayonza road.
Ota Kiyokazi, the new Japanese envoy to Rwanda, made the announcement shortly after presenting his credentials to President Paul Kagame at Village Urugwiro in Kigali, yesterday.
The loan will be co-financed with the African Development Bank (AfDB).
Improved road network is important for Rwanda and the region, Amb. Kiyokazi said.
Secondly, he said, the two countries were cooperating in ICT and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had invited 16 young promising Rwandan students to study at post-graduate level in Japan.
“Brilliant youths will go to Japan, study with Japanese counterparts and later work in Japanese businesses and I hope that we will work together and have a bright future for ICTs,” he said.
Meanwhile, the envoy also emphasised that security, development and women empowerment were three key areas of cooperation.
“The President of Rwanda has a stellar record in gender equality. Many MPs, ministers, and others are female and the country is ranked number one in the world in that respect. President Kagame was selected as one of the Impact 10X10X10 champions of women empowerment and Prime Minister Abe wants to join the cause as well,” the envoy said.
The HeForShe campaign’s Impact 10X10X10 initiative is a solidarity campaign for gender equality initiated by UN Women. Its goal is to engage men as agents of change toward the achievement of gender equality and women’s rights, by encouraging them to take action against inequalities faced by women and girls.
Speaking at the eleventh annual policy dialogue on the Japanese Official Development Assistance to Rwanda, last November, Foreign Affairs permanent secretary Jeanine Kambanda said Japan and Rwanda, particularly, enjoyed reciprocal support during the time the latter was a member of the UN Security Council (2013-2014).
“The Japanese government understands our development agenda and gets involved. That’s why their assistance is gradually increasing, be it in Technical and Vocational Education and Training as in the case of Tumba College of Technology, Rusumo One Border Post, electricity rollout, or other micro development projects that seek to advance the welfare of our citizens,” Kambanda said.
New envoys root for ties
Apart from the Japanese diplomat, President Kagame also received credentials from seven other envoys.
They were Amir Hossain Nikbin of Iran, Gisele Balley Medegan of Benin, Herald Gunther of Austria, John Matthew Feakes of Australia, Donald Cronin of Ireland, Bibian Lucilla Jones of Argentina and Domenico Fornara of Italy.
The envoys emphasised that they were looking forward to working to further develop bilateral relations with Rwanda.
“The relationship between Rwanda and Australia is already very warm. We are helping Rwanda build a school of mines and I hope that during my tenure, I can attract Australian investors, particularly in the mining sector, to Rwanda,” Feakes said.