VILLAGE URUGWIRO-President Paul Kagame and President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan of Nigeria, yesterday, agreed to strengthen the ‘already excellent’ relations and committed to advancing trade between the two countries, among other things.
President Kagame held talks with the Nigerian Head of State at Village Urugwiro, yesterday - the last day of his two-day official visit.
Shortly after a closed door-meeting, the Heads of State issued a joint communiqué that was read out by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Louise Mushikiwabo.
Presidents Kagame and Jonathan then witnessed the signing of a cooperation agreement by their respective foreign affairs ministers, before addressing a joint press conference.
President Kagame thanked his Nigerian counterpart for accepting the invitation to Rwanda and for coming along with a delegation of investors, adding that the visit further strengthens the ties between the two states.
“Rwanda and Nigeria are two friendly nations with firm bilateral cooperation and I take the opportunity to thank the Government of Nigeria and the President for the long standing support provided to Rwanda through the Nigerian Technical Aid Cooperation and many other activities, as well as the people behind them.
“We have had an opportunity to discuss matters of importance to our two countries and our continent. The cooperation agreement which you have witnessed today will further strengthen our partnership and benefit the citizens of both our countries,” Kagame said.
He noted that the people of Rwanda and Nigeria share similar aspirations to overcome the past and create, for themselves, a prosperous and dignified future.
“We also share the commitment to work for a stable and dynamic Africa that contributes meaningfully to the global economy,” he added.
President Kagame said that he looks forward to continue working with President Jonathan and his government to achieve the respective national goals of the two states as well as the common vision for the continent.
President Jonathan emphasised that his visit was principally aimed at strengthening the ‘brotherly relations’ that exist between the two countries as well his personal friendship with President Kagame, who he thanked for attending his inauguration in May this year.
“You know the world is becoming smaller and smaller, it is becoming a global village. Everyday, the boundaries become thinner and thinner and leaders must continue to talk and discuss how they can make sure they accelerate the economic development between our states,” he said.
Jonathan noted that much as there are already Nigerian investors in Rwanda, he came with a team of robust business personalities who might register an interest in Rwanda.
He added that his visit also mainly focused on African issues and how they can be resolved.
“The two nations must cooperate and that’s why we are here. We have a broad range of agreements but as a nation or as an individual, you cannot do everything at the same time,” Jonathan said.
“Our officials and technical people are looking at some of these things that we can do very well especially regarding our economies because for us to do anything be it education, be it infrastructure, we need to have a good economic base.”
The Nigerian Head of State said that the two countries are looking at ways of advancing bilateral and diplomatic relations, observing that the recent opening of the Rwandan High Commission in Abuja is a positive development. He disclosed that in return, Nigeria will look into opening its own in Kigali.
“I promise we will open an embassy here, in fact it is one of the recommendations of our meeting,” Jonathan said.
The two Heads of States said that they discussed a number of challenges the continent faces and how they can join efforts to deal with them.
The Presidents observed that conflicts or humanitarian crises do not affect individual countries but rather the continent in general, adding that African countries need to pool efforts and resources to resolve the outstanding challenges.
Earlier in the day, President Jonathan visited the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre where he laid a wreath in honour of the 1994 genocide victims
He said that the grim picture painted by the memorial is one that should serve as a lesson to Africans to avoid conflict.