KIGALI - Rwanda and Japan yesterday held the 7th annual policy dialogue where the two countries reviewed the Japanese Official Development Assistance (ODA) and areas where the two countries can work together to foster development.
The Rwandan delegation was led by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Louise Mushikiwabo, while on the Japanese side was the Japanese Ambassador to Rwanda, Kunio Hatanaka. They reviewed areas where priority should be put in the economic cooperation of the two states.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by leaders of both delegations indicates that Japan will continue supporting Rwanda in the areas of human resource development, rural development, economic infrastructure and industrial development.
Japan, as one of the major supporters of economic development in Rwanda, commended how aid is used in the country and allocation of resources, pledging to continue supporting development in the country.
“Therefore, in the course of future project formation, the Government of Japan will concentrate its focus on agriculture, education and water and sanitation areas, which were allocated in the Division of Labour (DoL),” the MoU reads.
Mushikiwabo commended the Japanese government for their continued support to Rwanda’s development as well as the Japanese government’s decision to open a permanent Embassy in Kigali.
“On behalf of the Rwandan government, I want to reiterate our pleasure in the decision by your government to open up a fully fledged Embassy here in Kigali in January this year,” Mushikiwabo said.
“I also take this opportunity to again applaud the ongoing excellent and still growing relations between our two countries since Japan resumed its bilateral assistance to Rwanda in 2004“.
Mushikiwabo said that the opening of the Embassy is a sign of Japan’s commitment to have good relations with Rwanda. She noted that Rwanda is also determined to continue exploring new spheres of cooperation because Rwanda and Japan share a lot in common.
“Rwanda and Japan have many things in common, particularly small resource endowment. It makes Rwanda feel that there is a lot to learn in order for us to boost our growth”.
“Our two countries also share the belief in our people as the most important resource we can count on,” She added, saying that it’s important that Japan has prioritised those areas where Rwanda is focusing to foster economic growth.
Japan supports capacity building through education projects in Tumba College of Technology and Kigali Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) as well as water supply projects and infrastructure development around the country.
Among these include the extension of Rusumo-Kayonza road and several energy and ICT projects around the country.
Hatanaka said that the opening of the Embassy will open a new chapter and take relations to another level, and that the Japanese government is still committed to supporting development in Rwanda and Africa despite the shocks the Japanese economy has suffered in the past years.
He noted that Japan is committed to support African countries on climate change issues under the Copenhagen climate change agreement. He added that through the ODA budget, Rwanda will continue to receive funds to support development.
During the dialogue, the two delegations reviewed what Rwanda had achieved in the past years in its Vision 2020 target, potential areas of development and investment, capacity building, poverty reduction and infrastructure development among others.