President Paul Kagame has extended an invitation to Israeli investors and firms looking to enter the Rwandan market.
The President was speaking in Tel Aviv, Israel, while on a visit to the country yesterday, where he was accompanied by First Lady Jeannette Kagame.
Kagame said ties and cooperation between the two countries have continued to grow stronger especially after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to the region.
Netanyahu visited Rwanda in July last year as part of his 4 country African tour; accompanied by a delegation of government officials and business people.
Kagame said that among the key areas of cooperation between the two nations include technology, agriculture, energy as well as security.
“Cooperation between our two countries has blossomed in many areas among them technology, agriculture, energy as well as security. We appreciate what Israel has to offer in these fields, and we are very happy to work with you. Trade and investment links have also multiplied. Rwanda is open for business and we look forward to welcoming private sector delegations even in the future,” he said.
Kagame noted that Israel has been sincere with its commitments to increase engagement with Africa.
He pledged to continue working with the Middle Eastern country to address common issues.
“Ever since the Prime Minister’s historic visit to East Africa last year, Israel has continued to follow through with its commitments and objective to scale up their engagement across Africa,” said the Head of State.
“This is a very positive trend which can only be welcomed and merits our support. We are looking forward to reinforcing our collaboration with Israel on common challenges and issues of mutual interests.”
Israel and Rwanda have pacts laying ground for cooperation including; declaration of intent on innovation, visa exemption for holders of diplomatic passports and joint declaration in the field of agriculture.
Netanyahu described Kagame as an ‘indispensible bridge’ for his role in facilitating the improvement of ties between Israel and Africa.
He detailed how he sought Kagame’s counsel as they were beginning the process of ‘returning to Africa.’
He termed Rwanda as a consistent partner having supported his country in several international forums.
‘Friends of Rwanda’
In response to Kagame’s statement early this year at the AIPAC Policy conference that Rwanda was a friend of Israel, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said his nation is a friend of Rwanda as was evidenced by cooperation across different aspects.
He committed to continue to support Rwanda’s development across multiple aspects.
“It is one of our biggest pleasure to work with you in rebuilding your country, in water, agriculture, security,” President Rivlin said.
Kagame later planted an olive tree at the Keren Kayemet Le’Israel, a Jewish National Fund.
The tree planting at the Grove of Nations is a tradition in which presidents and prime ministers plant a tree as a sign of friendship with the State of Israel and the Jewish people.
Kagame said that Rwanda looks forward to continued friendship and partnership with Israel.
“For us this marks our shared history and our country’s presence alongside Israel as we walk together to better the lives of our people. Tree planting symbolises our duty to care for the environment which surrounds us and sustains us. This particular forest also serves as a living embodiment of the ideas of friendship, brotherhood and equality among nations,” he said.
President Kagame later held a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu where they recommitted to strengthening relations between the two countries.
“We are very happy to welcome a great friend of Rwanda. Rwanda is very fortunate to have him as a leader,” Prime Minister Netanyahu said welcoming him to the his office.
President Kagame and First Lady Jeannette Kagame were later hosted by Prime Minister Netanyahu and Mrs Netanyahu for a dinner at their residence.