GERMANY - Germany’s President Horst Köhler has hailed Rwanda’s leadership for its commitment in spearheading community development and sustainable growth 15 years after the genocide that claimed more than a million innocent lives.
In an address by the Federal President Horst Köhler at the opening of the Rwanda-Day in Neuwied on 5 September 2009, the Federal President highlighted major achievements that have been registered for the last 27 years of cooperation between the Rhineland palatinate and Rwanda.
He singled out the sectors of education, infrastructure and agriculture and said the friendship between the two states has grown strong, a symbol of shared values as well as the commitment for promoting sustainable development on Rwanda’s part.
“I have come to Neuwied to honor an exemplary development,” Mr. Köhler said.
“More than 25 years now endures the cooperation between Rhineland-Palatinate and Rwanda, and I think there is something like a friendship that has grown.”
Quoting an African proverb at the colorful celebrations that brought together Rwandans living in Germany as well as senior government officials from both countries, the Federal president said “Keep your friend with both hands” adding that in this world of globalization we need each other for support and development.
He also pointed out that although there was a change of government after the genocide, the current leadership in Rwanda, did not want to lose everything that had been achieved the years before.
“Even as the genocide fifteen years ago put everything into question, at that time many people have asked in Rhineland-Palatinate, what can we do and your answer was--we are sticking to the cooperation,” said President Köhler.
“I want to congratulate all those involved. I’m proud of Rwanda’s commitment, because they show so much compassion, and also do so much for Germany’s reputation in Africa and the world,” he added.
The Federal President passionately talked about his visit to Rwanda last year, as an eye opener of how a nation like Rwanda regardless of the turbulent times it went through could transform itself into an exemplary state on the international scene adding that Rwanda is an anchor of very practical projects.
Köhler also said that the partnership between Rwanda and Rhineland-Palatinate is characterized by mutual understanding considering the quality time both parties utilize to meet and understand each other better, which in return allows more direct access to the people.
The ceremony was attended by state minister for Social Affairs, Christine Nyatanyi and Rwanda’s Ambassador to Germany Christine Nkulikiyinka.