Rwanda and the Kingdom of Morocco, yesterday, signed 19 agreements in a bid to strengthen bilateral ties and create opportunities for citizens of the two nations.
The agreements were signed on the second day of the three-day state visit by the King of Morocco, Mohammed VI, to Rwanda.
The deals were signed at the Office of the President in Kacyiru, in the presence of the Moroccan monarch and his host, President Paul Kagame.
The areas of cooperation agreed on include foreign relations, security, finance, investments and private sector development.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Louise Mushikiwabo, and her Moroccan counterpaert Salahddine Mezouar signed four agreements on general cooperation, political consultation mechanism, and air service and visa exemptions for diplomatic and official passport holders.
Under the political consultation mechanism, the two countries agreed to establish an avenue for regular and active consultations between the two countries on aspects of bilateral and international matters of common interest.
The air service agreement gives each country right to fly across the territory of the other without landing and make stops in the territory of the other country for non traffic purposes.
Justice minister Johnston Busingye and the Morocco interior minister also signed an agreement that will see the two countries work together to prevent terrorism and other forms of transnational crimes and also exchange information and intelligence in security affairs.
The Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, Amb. Claver Gatete, and his Moroccan counterpart Mohammed Boussaid also signed an agreement on the avoidance of double taxation and prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to income tax.
Under the framework, the two countries agreed to share information on taxation.
Amb. Gatete also signed an agreement with the Chief Executive of Banque Centrale Populaire, Mohamed Benchaaboun, on Microfinance Partnership Agreement and on the launch of Africa Mutual Growth Investment Fund.
Through Attawfiq Microfiance Foundation and Atlantic Microfiance for Africa, the two countries will set up a micro-finance programme providing credit to project holders and microenterprise operators.
The Africa Mutual Growth Investment Fund to be established in Rwanda, will have a capacity of $300 million dedicated to East Africa with the first phase of $50 million dedicated to Rwanda.
Speaking to The New Times shortly after signing the deals, Minister Gatete said the agreements provide a framework for Moroccan investments in Rwanda and will give Moroccan investors confidence in the Rwandan market.
“These agreements provide the framework for investment indicating where to invest, how much and in which area. This is important having been signed in front of the two heads of state; it shows the significance of the opportunity ahead of us,” said the minister.
“They also want to set up a bank here, they signed a double taxation avoidance meaning that they will not have to pay taxes twice,” he said.
Rwanda Development Board chief executive Francis Gatare signed six deals with Moroccan officials on a number of areas including reciprocal promotion and protection of investments, partnership agreement in the field of tourism and the establishment of a pharmaceutical industry in Rwanda by Cooper Pharma.
The plant, which is expected to open in 2019, is set to occupy about 10,000 square meters and will produce beta-lactam antibiotics with the aim of improving access to quality medicines affordable for Rwandans.
The accord on reciprocal promotion and protection of investments is aimed at increasing economic cooperation for mutual benefit and to create favourable conditions for investments.
Gatare also signed a memorandum of understanding for the establishment of the African Institute of Technology (AIT) as a world class higher education provider with a research focus in climate change, green value chain, megacities, population growth, among other areas.
The two countries also intend to partner in the development and promotion of economic zones in Rwanda through infrastructure development and construction and capacity development in logistics, transportation services, engineering and construction.
The private sectors of the two countries also signed an agreement for the establishment of the Morocco-Rwanda Business Council aimed at the continuous development of economic relations and strengthening business opportunities.
Rwanda Energy Group chief executive Jean Bosco Mugiraneza signed a memorandum of understanding on the development of renewable energy with Moroccan officials.
The deal aims at strengthening the institutional framework for the development of renewable energy in capacity and industrial development.
Palmerie Development Group also agreed to partner with Development Bank of Rwanda to develop a residential real estate consisting of 5,000 affordable housing units with an overall investment of the project estimated at $68 million.
Attijariwafa Bank, one of Morocco’s leading banks, acquired 76.19 per cent of one of Rwanda’s leading banks, Cogebanque at $41 million.
Established in 1904, and with offices in London, Paris, Brussels, Madrid, Barcelona, Milan, Shanghai, The Netherlands, Tunisia, Senegal, Ghana, Mauritania and Mali, the bank brand brings in experience of over a century to the local banking sector.
Commenting on the agreements signed, Gatare said the agreements and partnerships would no doubt speed up the ongoing economic growth in the country.
Following the signing, President Kagame hosted his guest to a State Banquet at the Kigali Convention Centre.
King Mohammed VI is in Rwanda as the first leg of his three-nation tour to eastern Africa. The other countries he will visit are Tanzania and Ethiopia.