URUGWIRO VILLAGE - It was a busy day at Urugwiro Village yesterday as eight ambassadors and high commissioners formally presented their letters of accreditation to President Paul Kagame.
The High Commissioners from Kenya, Malaysia and Cyprus and Ambassadors from Egypt, Algeria, Zimbabwe, Switzerland and Morocco presented their credentials in a colourful ceremony characterised by a guard of honour.
The envoys from Kenya and Egypt have residence in Kigali, while those from Switzerland, Malaysia, Morocco and Cyprus have residence in Nairobi. The Zimbabwean envoy is based in Dar-es-Salaam while the Algerian has his seat in Kampala.
First to present credentials was Kenya’s High Commissioner to Rwanda, Makena Muchiri, who later told the press that she will focus on strengthening further the deep bilateral relations during her time in office.
“Kenya and Rwanda have a deep and long lasting friendship both bilaterally and as East African Community members as well as the African Union, so we hope to foster that relationship and to deepen it more,”
“We want to do more in terms of economic cooperation to benefit both the people of Kenya and Rwanda as a whole. We will focus on the development of ICT and as you might be aware, Rwanda and Kenya were recently elected to the ITU Council and we want to influence decisions there regarding ICT development,” Muchiri told the press.
Muchiri, a seasoned lawyer and diplomat, said that Rwanda has gone far in laying the fibre optic cable in which it is collaborating with Kenya, while other areas of cooperation are in the agriculture sector as well as in peace and security.
The new Egyptian envoy, Khaled Abdel Rahman Abdel Satam, said Egypt and Rwanda share “historic and strong” bilateral relations with the two countries cooperating in the areas of energy, investment, technology, mining and agriculture.
He said that Egypt has invested over US$14m in Rwanda mainly in the mining and energy development sectors.
Gen. Edzai Absolom Chanyuka Chimonyo of Zimbabwe said he was particularly “delighted” by his accreditation as the two countries resume the once “not active” diplomatic ties.
He noted that Rwanda and Zimbabwe share a lot in common and will continue to cooperate on economic development, particularly through regional and continental blocs like EAC and COMESA.
Having lived in Rwanda during the Genocide, the Swiss envoy Jacques Pitteloud, said that the progress that has been made following the devastating events of 1994 is very impressive, adding that it’s “a different country” from what it was in 1994.
Pitteloud who referred to Rwanda as his “second home” said that his accreditation to Rwanda was a “moving moment” for him. He noted that held a brief discussion with President Kagame on the Africa-Europe relations.
“The discussion with the President was extremely interesting because it was about a topic which at the moment President Kagame is always trying to put in the international fora; the new relationship of Europe and Africa, a relationship that is based more on mutual respect for one another,” Pitteloud said.
The Malaysian High Commissioner, Zainol Rahim bin Zainuddin, said that like Rwanda, Malaysia has adopted ICT development as a bridge to socio-economic development by targeting to become the ICT hub in the region.
The Moroccan Ambassador Abdelilah Benryane, the Algerian envoy Benmokhtar Abderrahmane and the Cyprus envoy Agis Loizou pledged to work for better bilateral relations.