URUGWIRO VILLAGE - The visiting Deputy Treasury Secretary of the United States government, Neal Wolin, yesterday held discussions with President Paul Kagame. The discussions aimed at seeking more ways in which the US can continue to partner with Rwanda to foster economic development.
President Kagame welcomed Deputy Secretary Wolin to Rwanda noting the importance of the cooperation message signalled by this visit, particularly following September’s meetings between US President Barack Obama and African leaders on the margins of the UN General Assembly in New York.
During their meeting, President Kagame underscored Rwanda’s efforts in building a strong private sector, creating a conducive environment for investment, and enabling Rwandans to overcome poverty, particularly through entrepreneurship.
The President also emphasised Rwanda’s commitment to regional integration, noting that the East African Community had achieved Customs Union and significant progress had been made by member states towards a common market.
President Kagame also highlighted ongoing cooperation between Rwanda and DR Congo in economic development initiatives and expressed satisfaction in the renewed partnership between the two countries.
Talking to journalists shortly after meeting President Kagame, Wolin said that the US Government is impressed by Rwanda’s economic progress and good leadership and will continue to partner with Rwanda in development.
“I am glad to be here in Rwanda. I met President Kagame to discuss ways in which the United States and Rwanda can continue to deepen and strengthen our partnership in important areas such as infrastructure development, food security, financial service system and the Rwandan Economy,” he said.
Wolin who is on a 9-day African tour aimed at highlighting key economic growth issues, including infrastructure, food security and investment said that he was ‘enormously struck’ by the country’s improvement since his last visit in 1994.
“I am enormously struck by the great progress Rwanda has made especially in respect to economic growth, reconciliation, food security as well its efforts in regional integration, especially in the East African Community.”
Wolin who is also visiting Tanzania and South Africa hailed President Kagame for his good leadership skills and attributed the ‘great success’ to good governance championed by the current leadership.
“President Kagame is very focussed with a clear vision of where he intends to take Rwanda and the steps by which he intends to do that. And as he continues to work towards fulfilling his vision, the US Government stands ready to be a strong partner to Rwanda and President Kagame in areas such as Food security and infrastructure development,” Wolin said
He pointed out that after extensive discussions with senior Rwandan officials on the country’s priorities in agriculture, the economy, finance and infrastructure, he looked forward to contributing to Rwanda’s progress.
Wolin commended the country for its leadership role in peacekeeping in the troubled Sudanese Region of Darfur.
During his visit, Wolin visited the USAID (United States Aid for International Development) and African Development Bank-funded Dairy Competitiveness Project. He was also expected to visit the Methane Gas Project on Lake Kivu which is run by an American Company Contour Global.
According to Finance Minister James Musoni, discussions with Wolin centred on how the US can continue supporting Rwanda on food security and developing major infrastructure projects including a railway link connecting Rwanda to Dar es Salaam via Isaka.
“We mainly talked about the railway project and on the new airport the Government is currently working on. They have also pledged to work with us to increase the capacity of the national carrier Rwandair,” the Minister said.
“We also talked about major energy projects like the methane gas as well as how Rwanda can continue to attract American investors.”
During his visit, Wolin will highlight U.S-Africa partnerships, including President Barrack Obama’s commitment to advance food security and sustainable agriculture-led growth through country-owned strategies.