KIGALI/RUBAVU - The British Minister for international development, Ivan Lewis, has hailed Rwanda’s tremendous achievements since 1994, commending the current government for the spirited effort to lift the country from the devastation caused by the Genocide.
Speaking to The New Times at the British Embassy, the Minister who is in the country for a three-day visit, said that he was impressed by Rwanda’s progress and the positive steps the country has taken in reconstruction, especially regarding poverty eradication, ICT, energy and combating HIV/AIDS.
“I must say I am impressed by what the Rwandan Government is doing. Rwanda is a success story in Africa in the battle against poverty, creating sustainable energy, developing the education sector and fighting diseases” said Lewis.
The British Minister visited the Methane Gas Project on Lake Kivu and said he was impressed by the venture which received technical support from UK during its setup.
He said that the project shows how Rwanda is committed to finding alternative sustainable energy sources which is good for any growing economy.
The British Minister who was accompanied by the Minister of State for Energy, Dr. Albert Butare, said that the UK is impressed and will continue to support development projects in Rwanda in future just like they have done in the past.
“We now cannot regret having funded development projects in Rwanda 10 years ago. After the war it looked like a risk, but today, Rwanda is not looking backwards but into the future,” said Lewis who also took time to visit Gisozi Genocide Memorial Centre.
During the visit to the Methane Gas Project, Butare explained that the government has worked hard towards the success of the pilot plant that is currently producing 1.5 mw of power and is aiming at producing 5 mw ,enough for the former prefectures of Gisenyi and Ruhengeri. He said that that the success of the pilot plant has attracted other investors.
“An American energy firm, New York-based Contour Global, is close to signing a deal to build a permanent electricity plant on Lake Kivu’s shore, which would eventually produce 100 megawatts, which is nearly twice the country’s daily production,” said Butare.
The UK Minister also visited the Eastern DRC town of Goma to assess the current humanitarian situation and visited internally displaced persons.
He said that the recent effort by Rwanda and DRC to jointly end the conflict in the Eastern part of DRC is a positive step towards restoring peace in the region.
“Unlike in the past, Rwanda and DRC have agreed to jointly resolve the war and the fact that Laurent Nkunda is open to talks gives us a ray of hope. The UK will continue to give any kind of support needed to bring peace in this region,” said Lewis.
He however challenged the leadership of DRC to show commitment by doing away with the negative forces in the country and also resettle people back in their homes, and most importantly, put development projects in place.