The Prime Minister of Côte d’Ivoire, Guillaume Soro, arrived in the country last evening to attend the United Nations Post-Conflict Peace building conference which opens today.
President Paul Kagame is expected to deliver the keynote address this morning.
The other Head of State expected is Burundi’s Pierre Nkurunziza.
Soro was welcomed at Kigali International Airport by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Louise Mushikiwabo, the Minister of Defence, James Kabarebe, as well as other top government officials.
Known for his role in the Ivorian politics earlier this year, Soro, a popular figure in the West African country, is here to represent his country among the few invited countries emerging from conflict.
He is one of the many top government officials expected to grace the two-day high-level conference, jointly organised by the government, the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the UN.
Côte d’Ivoire, which was rocked by post-election violence at the end of last year, was invited to the meeting which will bring together six nations that constitute the UN Peace Building Commission (PBC) as well as four countries emerging from conflict.
Soro who has been Prime Minister since 2007, was re-appointed by President Alassane Ouattara after he had resigned from the post amidst the highly contested presidential polls.
More top officials were expected by press time including the Deputy Prime Minister of East Timor, Jose Luis Gutierrez.
Rwanda, which is the current chair of the PBC whose chairmanship is rotated on a continental basis, is expected to share its experience for the last 17 years.
The commission that was formed in 2005 is currently chaired by Rwanda’s Ambassador to the UN, Richard Eugene Gasana. Rwanda pledged to use its one year tenure to share lessons with other countries emerging from conflict.
Other members include Burundi, Central African Republic, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia and Sierra Leone, while those emerging from conflict include Côte d’Ivoire, Haiti, South Sudan and East Timor.
According to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Louise Mushikiwabo, the meeting will help enhance the “ongoing global dialogue on peace-building and getting Africa to be a more important contributor to the process”.
It will ‘reflect on Rwanda’s journey towards reconciliation, reconstruction and development with a focus on leadership and national ownership; innovative approaches to reconciliation and socioeconomic development; and the strategic use of aid, as the key drivers.
The conference will be moderated by Sudanese-British BBC presenter Zeinab Badawi.