KIGALI - President Paul Kagame and his US counterpart George Walker Bush yesterday signed the Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) that will enable the two countries fully explore their investment potential.
In a news conference shortly after the signing ceremony at Village Urugwiro yesterday, Kagame said that the treaty would enable Rwandans to benefit from enormous capital flows from American investors.
“The bilateral investment treaty that we have just signed is further testimony to your commitment and the good will of the American people. Mr. President, your visit is a reflection that the United States and Rwanda have shared value,” Kagame told Bush.
He added: “You saw for yourself there were also decades of bad politics and bad leadership when you visited the genocide memorial that you just saw this morning. The country you are visiting today was vastly different 14 years ago when the very survival of Rwanda as a nation was in question.
“But the Rwandan people refused to give up hope, and we have instead embarked on the task of healing, reconstruction, and development.”
Kagame lauded the US government for having contributed immensely in changing the lives of thousands of Rwandan children and mothers through its support to the health and education sectors.
President Bush was upbeat that the BIT would enable more American companies tap huge opportunities in Rwanda.
He congratulated Rwandans on the remarkable progress registered and promised that his government would continue to help them in solving their own problems.
“This bilateral investment treaty is important because it sends a signal to U.S. companies that they ought to consider investing in Rwanda,” he said.
Bush added: “The President wisely understands that capital investment is much more effective in the long term than just grant money. And he understands the creation of jobs happens when people are able to attract capital.”
Bush is credited for introducing the President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (PEPFAR) with initial funding of $15b to fight against HIV/Aids in thirteen focus African countries.
He recently requested Congress to double that funding for another five years.
Meanwhile, the First Lady Mrs. Jeannette Kagame met with her US counterpart Mrs. Laura Bush at Village Urugwiro, yesterday.
The function, organised by Imbuto Foundation, attracted eleven school girls some of whom are being sponsored by the foundation.
Mrs. Kagame, who is also the founding president of the foundation, explained to the US First Lady the progress that the foundation has registered over the years.
Mrs Bush commended Mrs. Kagame for having pioneered the foundation’s efforts in helping girl students attain education.
The students also gave testimonies on how Imbuto Foundation had changed their lives. Angelina Muganza, the State Minister for Public Service and Labour, attended the function as well.