Rwanda and Zambia have re-committed to strengthen bilateral ties.
The two countries made the vow yesterday as President Paul Kagame kicked off a two-day state visit to Zambia.
On the first day of his visit, President Kagame held bilateral talks with his host President Edgar Lungu. The two leaders discussed areas of shared interests.
“Rwanda and Zambia have a lot in common, despite the distance between our two countries. We both aspire to a higher quality of life for our people, and our continent. Our capitals are now linked by RwandAir. We should look forward to increased ties,” President Kagame said.
The two Heads of State noted that trade between the two countries is still significantly small and can be enhanced through increased mutual export and import. They vowed to encourage more interactions between their respective people towards building strong economic ties.
Trade between the two countries has been on an upward trend with imports from Zambia averaging $11.6 million (~Frw 10 billion) last year up from $2.8 million (Frw 2.4 billion) in 2015.
Zambia is among the top exporting countries to Rwanda, ranking 8th, which represents almost three percent of total imports in 2016.
President Kagame further thanked the Zambian government for the hospitality shown to Rwandan refugees who have lived in the country for over two decades, and called on them to repatriate.
“We have been a country that has produced a big number of refugees because of our tragic history and politics. Our message to our people is that we want all of them to come back. To those abroad, do not abuse the hospitality given,” the President added.
President Lungu hailed Rwanda’s development in sectors like agriculture, ICT, renewable energy and tourism, crediting the country’s visionary leadership.
He lauded President Kagame’s leadership in spearheading the Africa Union reforms.
Alongside his host, President Kagame witnessed the signing of three bilateral agreements including: Air services agreement, Defence and Security Cooperation and An extradition treaty.
President Kagame laid a wreath at the Embassy Park of Presidential Memorial Site, the resting place for deceased Zambian statesmen.
He paid a courtesy call on former Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda and was hosted to a state dinner late in the evening.
Today, the President is scheduled to visit Kafue Steel Company in Kafue District, Lusaka Province.