The Ugandan community living and working in Rwanda on Friday met in Kigali to celebrate their country’s 53rd Independence Day, with a call on the private sector to take a lead in the emerging sectors such as oil and gas.
The call was made by Uganda’s High Commissioner to Rwanda, Richard Kabonero, at the celebrations that drew officials from government and members of the diplomatic corps accredited to Kigali.
Uganda gained her independence on October 9, 1962, attaining self-rule from Britain.
Kabonero said various investment opportunities in the oil and gas sector are open to the private sector, including in upstream and downstream oil production, refineries, pipelines, and associated industries, among others.
On bilateral relations between Uganda and Rwanda, Kabonero saluted Rwanda’s unwavering commitment to the protection of vulnerable persons and victims of conflict all over the world, a commitment he said Uganda also shares.
He further commended the government and the people of Rwanda for the visible accelerated pace of development in the country.
“These achievements have positively impacted the whole region,” he said.
At the regional level, the envoy thanked partner states in the East African Community for their commitment to implementation of the Northern Corridor Framework, which has in turn accelerated the implementation of infrastructure projects that have increased access to the port of Mombasa, which serves both Rwanda and Uganda.
The initiative has also, among others, helped eliminate barriers to cross-border trade.
Foreign Affairs Minister Louise Mushikiwabo described as “very special” the relationship that exists between Rwanda and Uganda:
“Uganda is one of the countries with which Rwanda does a lot on a daily basis in many different sectors. The people of Rwanda remain mindful of this substantive and symbolic cooperation amongst our people that together we have extended to the region,” Mushikiwabo explained, adding: “Our bilateral relations have indeed existed for a long time. We have blood ties, we have family ties, we have business ties … we have a lot that we share as nations and as peoples. This relationship has stood the test of time, and we have maintained a very good level of mutual understanding and respect.”
Mushikiwabo also took time off to eulogise three senior Ugandan officials who recently succumbed to different ailments in a space of one month.
“I would like to take a moment to express the government and people of Rwanda’s sympathy to the government and the people of Uganda and the bereaved families for the immense loss that the people, the government and families in Uganda have suffered recently with the passing on of their beloved ministers and army officers,” said Mushikiwabo.
She mourned Gen. Aronda Nyakairima, the Minister of Internal Affairs; Dr James Mutende, the State Minister for Industry; and Maj. Gen. Ali Bamuze who all passed away in just a month.
This was followed by the observance of a minute of silence for the deceased.
Kabonero added that Uganda would continue its commitment to the democratic process, with presidential and parliamentary elections due in February next year.