News / Africa

Rwanda ‘Committed to Strong’ Regional Integration—and Growth

Louise Mushikiwabo is Rwanda’s foreign ministerLouise Mushikiwabo is Rwanda’s foreign minister
x
Louise Mushikiwabo is Rwanda’s foreign minister
Louise Mushikiwabo is Rwanda’s foreign minister
Peter Clottey

This is Part Four of a six-part series on African Investment
Continue to Parts:     1 / 2 / 3 / 5 / 6


Rwanda’s foreign minister says her country is committed to strong peace, stability, integration among East and Central African countries.

Louise Mushikiwabo made her comments a recent three-day meeting of the New York Forum Africa held in the Gabonese capital, Libreville. The group brings together international investors and African business leaders on the continent in an effort to foster partnerships.

Mushikiwabo said Kigali seeks robust bilateral relations with its neighbors to better the lives of citizens in the region. 

                    Regional integration

In an interview with VOA, Mushikiwabo said Rwanda works closely with its regional partners to dismantle trade barriers to create what she called “an enabling environment” for strong business growth.

“We are the first country in East Africa to wave work permits for citizens of East Africa… While President Paul Kagame was chairing the East Africa community, he pushed for some of the trade barriers to be dismantled. So we do have a strong commitment to East Africa for our region to become a good environment for business,” said Mushikiwabo.

Experts say Rwanda has recently become a tourist destination in the East Africa, in spite of the 1994 genocide in which hundreds of thousands of people perished. They laud the government’s development of the potentially lucrative sector.

Mushikiwabo said Kigali has introduced a radio program to encourage citizens to take advantage of a growth in tourism.

 “We had to do a lot of [outreach] through the communities beyond the main city of Kigali where people know the other countries surrounding Rwanda…We went to the different provinces talking about the benefits of being one region,” She said.

 “Anytime we make progress in terms of our integration, especially economic integration, we always make sure that people are informed of the opportunities. We advertise, we go out of our way to let our people know what they can get in, say, Kenya or Uganda or Tanzania. We’ve also increased transport from one country to another.”

The recently launched Rwanda Air flies to neighboring countries almost twice daily, and in some cases a few times during the week. Mushikiwabo also said there are also regularly leaving Kigali for other East African destinations as well.

A desire to increase tourism has also brought increased internal security. Mushikiwabo said it’s been tightened following the 1994 genocide.       

“We have made sure that security is the number one priority for the country where people can freely circulate on the territory, where people can walk at night, where people can leave their house unlocked in some of the neighborhoods…and we’ve more than just the traditional security measures also made the average person understand that security is something they need to be part of,” said Mushikiwabo.

                    Regional security

She denied recent accusations the Rwandan military provided up to 300 fighters as well as weapons and ammunition to rebels battling government forces in neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo.

“It’s one of the areas that Rwanda and Congo has worked very hard on. After we normalized relations, we made sure that we continue to talk -- that our security and defense leaders meet often, talk often, work together have joint operations in the region,” continued Mushikiwabo.

 “We also very much put time and value into security in both countries…So we take security very seriously and that is how Rwanda has been able to move away from insecurity and even to grow so much, economically.”

Mushikiwabo said Rwanda is committed to the economic empowerment of its people. She said the government is implementing measures to help Rwandans realize their economic potential.

“One is to create economic opportunities, but before one gets to economic opportunities, one has to get the average citizen involved in activities that will lift people out of poverty  Wave done that [with] a number of programs…that are inspired by our own tradition. The tradition, which is not just Rwandan but very African, of neighbor helping neighbor.  We have taken some of these traditional mechanisms and injected them with a bit of modern finance, and included them in our economic programs.”

She said the government is continuing to find innovative ways of creating jobs including encouraging entrepreneurship and adding value to the country’s main exports, coffee and tea.
Clottey intervire with Louise Mushikiwabo, Rwanda’s foreign minister
Clottey intervire with Louise Mushikiwabo, Rwanda’s foreign minister i
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Srebrenica Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs countermeasure at UN More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prisoni
X
Heather Murdock
July 01, 2015 8:59 PM
As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs