Presidents Paul Kagame and Abdel Fattah al-Sisi of Rwanda and Egypt respectively, have committed to bolster economic ties between their two countries for the mutual benefit of their respective citizens.
The two heads of state were speaking after holding talks at Urugwiro Village on Tuesday.
President Sisi is on an official visit to Rwanda as part of his four-state tour, which also includes Tanzania, Chad, and Gabon.
The two presidents said that their governments will strive to promote trade exchange, joint investments as well as creating linkages between private sectors of both countries.
This will see the countries go beyond government to government cooperation in a bid to link the private sectors of the two nations.
President Kagame said that Egypt has a lot to offer as a business partner as well as an investor hence the eagerness to deepen commercial ties.
“Egypt has a lot to offer as an investor and business partner for Rwanda and the East African region, we are eager to deepen commercial ties,”
Noting Rwanda’s efforts to create favourable preconditions for the economic ties, Kagame said that Egyptians do not need a visa to enter Rwanda which would greatly facilitate their access to the Rwandan market.
“Egyptians do not need to apply for a visa to visit Rwanda and we hope to welcome tourists and business people from Egypt to our country in greater numbers going forward,” Kagame said.
Kagame said that the previous cooperation with Egypt had been very productive hence the efforts to boost ties.
“The friendship between Rwanda and Egypt has been productive and we look forward to doing even more in the future,” he said.
On his part, President Sisi said that in their deliberations with Kagame, they resolved to take all measures possible to facilitate and encourage the exchange of trade between the two countries and establish joint projects in the various economic sectors that will enable both nations achieve their goals.
“We discussed ways to promote trade exchange, increase joint investments, and foster growing cooperation between the private sectors of the two countries especially in the areas of communication, tourism, agriculture and energy”
“I want to highlight the agreement between the Egyptian and Rwandan government to take all necessary measures to facilitate and encourage the exchange of trade between the two countries and establish joint projects in the various economic sectors that will realize the interests of the brotherly nations,” President Sisi told members of the press at Urugwiro.
As of 2015, statistics show that Rwanda earned about $30million (Rwf22 billion) in exports to Egypt annually while Egypt made about $64millon (Rwf46 billion) from exports to Rwanda.
Going on forward from the deliberation and agreement, the two leaders agreed to form a joint committee to explore the avenues of cooperation.
“I agreed with my brother Kagame the importance of convening a joint committee of the two countries in the shortest possible time to consult on possible ways to advance areas of priority,” President Sisi said.
The two heads of states talked about the ongoing African Union reforms process whereby president Kagame said that the North African nation was important in making the organization more effective and sustainable.
On the African Union reforms, President Sisi said that it was important to put into action the proposed reforms to boost the organisation’s capacity as well as create continental independence.
The issue of terrorism and the rise of extremist groups also featured in their deliberations whereby they agree to crack down on such movements and cut their sources of finance.
Egypt also committed to continue supporting Rwanda in capacity building and sharing expertise in the various domains.
President Kagame later in the evening hosted a state banquet in honour of his visiting counterpart at the Kigali Convention Centre.
Speaking at the dinner, Kagame said that though the two countries do not share a border, they have multiple common interest on which their friendship is based and would continue to blossom over the coming years.
He hailed Egypt for the contribution to the liberation of the African continent when it was most needed.
Speaking at the banquet, Sisi said that the Egyptian people stand ready cooperate with Rwandans over multiple aspects. He extended his invitation to president Kagame to visit the North African nation to further strengthen ties.