26 June 2019

Botswana: Rwanda's Kagame On Two-Day Visit

Gaborone — Rwandan leader Mr Paul Kagame is expected here June 27 on a two-day state visit at the invitation of President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi.

BOPA has learnt that President Kagame had since President Masisi's assumption of office expressed his desire to visit Botswana, the latest being on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Switzerland early this year.

Leaders the world over have also been eager to meet Mr Kagame who is credited with overcoming the consequences of a bloody ethnic conflict, the infamous 1994 Rwanda Genocide, to building an efficient economic development model for the country.

Dr Masisi and Mr Kagame's relationship is borne out of the fact that the two leaders hold the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA) close to their hearts.

The visit will therefore offer the two leaders the best opportunity to sit and talk about the agreement.

Before leaving the African Union chairmanship, Mr Kagame had advocated for ACFTA to be put in motion and President Masisi had bought into the idea. Both leaders believe Africa should come together to assert its interests with one voice.

Niger will be hosting the AU summit for the first time in the history of the next month and the meeting in the capital Niamey is expected to launch the historic ACFTA.

Quizzed on what the two countries could learn from each other University of Botswana political analyst Mr Solly Rakgomo said Botswana and Rwanda could be exemplary in showing that the agreement was executable.

"They should establish some trade agreements between themselves and if they become successful other countries would emulate them and slowly but surely it would be rolled out to the rest of the continent," he said.

The National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda attributes the country's economic growth to the good performance of key sectors such as agriculture.

On the issue of democracy, Mr Rakgomo said Rwanda could learn a lot from Botswana.

"Botswana is an open society which is democratic, Mr Kagame has attained some socioeconomic prosperity but could still learn a lot from Botswana's democratic model," he added.

On the other hand, Botswana could learn from Rwanda's ambitious national innovation especially since the country seeks to transform into a knowledge based economy.

Mr Rakgomo expressed the hope that the two leaders would discuss the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) which Botswana acceded to as its 38th member.

The mechanism, which was introduced in 2003, is an instrument to which AU member states voluntarily sign up as a self-monitoring mechanism to encourage conformity with political, economic and corporate governance values.

According to a statement from the Ministry of International Affairs and Cooperation, this will be the first high level visit at head of state and government level between Botswana and Rwanda.

Source : BOPA

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